James Toback, the writer and director of films like Black and White and Two Girls and a Guy, has been accused of sexually harassing over 30 women over the course of the last three decades.
While rumours of Toback's behaviour toward women had widely been reported in previous exposés, the Los Angeles Times published the full scope of Toback's actions after speaking to 38 of the director's victims.
The latest story of a Hollywood figure's attempts to use their power in the industry to pressure women into sex comes just weeks after dozens of actresses levied similar claims against producer Harvey Weinstein, who was subsequently fired from his own company and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
"James Toback damn you for stealing, damn you for traumatising," actress Rose McGowan, a Weinstein victim, tweeted Sunday. Asia Argento wrote, "So proud of my sisters for bringing down yet another pig: James Toback."
According to the Los Angeles Times, the now-72-year-old Toback often relied on the same method to approach younger women unsolicited in New York, telling them he was a famous director and showing them proof; in one case, Toback opened up his bag and showed a woman a DVD copy of Two Girls and a Guy. Toback then reportedly told some of the women, often non-actresses, that they would be perfect for his next film.
In almost all cases, Toback reportedly navigated the conversation from the young woman's role in an upcoming film to sexual matters. Women were often invited to rehearsals for the alleged role; it was at these encounters where some of the women witnessed Toback masturbating in front of them or attempting to coerce them into sex, the newspaper writes.
One of the women Toback lured was Veruca Salt singer Louise Post, who shared her own Toback encounter from 1987. "He told me he'd love nothing more than to masturbate while looking into my eyes," Post said. "Going to his apartment has been the source of shame for the past 30 years, that I allowed myself to be so gullible."
Six days before the Toback report, Veruca Salt wrote on Twitter during the #MeToo social media movement, "Us too: by bosses, boyfriends, male babysitters, taxi drivers, strangers and movie director/pig #jamestoback #metoo."
Toback denied the women's accusations in the report, saying he never met most of them and if he did, it "was for five minutes and have no recollection." Toback added that he's a diabetic with a heart condition that makes it "biologically impossible" for the women's claims to be true.
A representative for Toback referred Rolling Stone's request for comment to Toback, who did not immediately reply.
"It's a common thread among many women I know … after someone mentions they were sexually abused by a creepy writer-director, the response is, 'Oh, no. You got Toback-ed,'" New York drama teacher Karen Sklaire, who said Toback grinded up against her leg during a 1997 meeting, told the Los Angeles Times. "The numbers are staggering."
Topics: James Toback