“Crash”director Paul Haggis does not want to discuss his letter of resignation from Scientology. He told a mutual friend, who communicated this to me after this column was first to report what was going on. Haggis, with much courage and conviction, resigned from this so-called “religion” (as designated by the Internal Revenue Service.) It’s the only religion I know of from which you can resign.
Haggis, my source says, was surprised that the letter became public. He will just continue to work on his new film, “The Next Three Days,” in Pittsburgh.
But the cat is out of the bag, as someone used to say.
I’ve known Paul Haggis a while now, probably since before “Crash.” He’s always been one of the nice guys. He wrote a great CBS series called “EZ Streets.” He worked as a writer on “thirtysomething.” He wrote the screenplay for “Million Dollar Baby.” In all the time we crossed paths, I knew he was a Scientologist but we never discussed it. Unlike Cruise, Travolta and Alley, he didn’t seem like a public proseltyzer. He seemed uncomfortable about the whole thing.
Now we see a respected man, an artist, an Academy Award winner, finally coming to terms with this situation. His letter to the robotic Tommy Davis, the celebrity wrangler of Scientology, is a brave one. Not only does Haggis cite his unhappiness with Scientology’s public stances. He addresses the personal as well.
To think: Haggis and his wife Deborah were barred from associating with her parents because they left the sect. Davis told CNN this sort of behavior didn’t happen. He laughed it off on camera. Haggis writes to Davis in his letter: “To see you lie so easily, I am afraid I had to ask myself: what else are you lying about?”
That’s it. Suddenly, all eyes should be on Scientology, its celebrities, and how they’re affecting the people around them. Haggis and Rennard were ordered to “disconnect” from her parents, an elderly couple, to deny them the right to see their grandchild. What kind of religion is so cruel that is advocates such a thing?
See the CNN clip that got Haggis so angry here. The discussion of “disconnect’ begins around 3:20. You may recall that when Katie Holmes first met Tom Cruise no one from her family saw or spoke to her for weeks. Her closest friends had no idea what had happened to her. When baby Suri was born, Katie’s parents were not present. They had to wait two and a half weeks to see their grandchild because Cruise was away on a promotional tour, sources said then.
Haggis’s letter continues: “…after writing this letter, I am fully aware that some of my friends may choose to no longer associate with me, or in some cases work with me.” This is after 35 years. So now the questions have to be asked about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, John Travolta and Kelly Preston, Kirstie Alley, Juliette Lewis, all of them ‘ what exactly is the truth, what is going on?
After the Haggis letter, there’s no going back.