Director James Toback has been accused of sexual harassment by more than 30 women in a damning exposé published by the Los Angeles Times.
The Oscar nominee, 72, reportedly preyed upon young women who had dreams of stardom, promising to make them famous before their meetings and auditions turned sexual, according to the article published on Sunday, October 22. The paper interviewed 38 women, 31 of whom went on the record, claiming that not only did Toback make vulgar comments, but in some cases he had rubbed himself against them and even masturbated in front of them.
Veruca Salt vocalist and guitarist Louise Post recounted a harrowing experience with the Black and White director after meeting him while attending college in 1987: “He told me he’d love nothing more than to masturbate while looking into my eyes … Going to his apartment has been the source of shame for the past 30 years, that I allowed myself to be so gullible.” The band tweeted about Toback on Monday, October 17, with the #MeToo hashtag, calling him a “pig.”
Actress Adrienne LaValley told the Times that Toback once attempted to rub his privates against her leg before ejaculating in his pants, saying, “The way he presented it, it was like, ‘This is how things are done.’” Another woman alleged that the filmmaker — whose most recent film, The Private Life of a Modern Woman, starred Sienna Miller — berated her for not taking off her clothes, before forcing his groin against her. Former As the World Turns actress Teri Conn shared a similar story of Toback humping her leg after he approached her on the street.
Former aspiring actress Starr Rinaldi told the Times, “In a weird sense, I thought, ‘This is a test of whether I’m a real artist and serious about acting.’ He always wanted me to read for him in a hotel or come back to his apartment, like, ‘How serious are you about your craft?’”
“And the horrible thing is, whichever road you choose, whether you sleep with him or walk away, you’re still broken,” she added. “You have been violated.”
The Times reports that Toback denied the allegations, saying that he had never met any of the women making the accusations against him, or if he did, it “was for five minutes and have no recollection.”
The bombshell report comes on the heels of a massive scandal involving Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused by multiple actresses of sexual harassment and assault. As previously reported, the producer was fired by his own company earlier this month after the New York Times revealed three decades of alleged sexual harassment and assault. Police have opened investigations in New York City and London into the allegations and the disgraced movie mogul sought therapy in Arizona for various psychological issues but left treatment after just one week.