After Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, director James Toback has been accused of sexual harassment by 38 women, the Los Angeles Times reported. Thirty-one of the women, including actor Adrienne LaValley, have gone on the record to detail instances of harassment and abuse by Toback.
“The women’s accounts portray James Toback as a man who, for decades, sexually harassed women he hired, women looking for work and women he just saw on the street,” the report says. Most of the accounts describe Toback luring young or aspiring female actors into meetings before making sexually explicit suggestions or lewd comments. In some cases, the director also allegedly ejaculated in the presence of the women.
Toback denied the allegations, telling the newspaper that he had never met any of the women and if he had, it was “for five minutes” and that he had “no recollection”. Toback claimed that diabetes and a heart condition made it “biologically impossible” for him to engage in the crimes described by the women.
Toback’s films include Fingers (1978), The Pick-up Artist (1987) and The Big Bang (1989). He was nominated for the Academy Award for best original screenplay for Barry Levinson’s Bugsy (1991). Toback’s latest project The Private Life of a Modern Woman, starring Sienna Miller as an unemployed actor who is stalked by her ex-boyfriend, was premiered at the Venice International Film Festival.
Following the report, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn wrote in a post on Facebook that he has been warning people about Toback for years. “He has done this to three girls I’ve dated, two of my very best friends, and a family member… twice,” Gunn wrote. “Yes, he came up to her twice with the same stupid line, not realizing she was the same person. This is in addition to many other women I’ve talked to at parties or dinners about their interactions with Toback.”
For a “first-hand account’s of Toback’s sex life and sexual behaviour, here is a revealing interview with Huffington Post in 2013, in which the director boasts about having participated in orgies at singer James Brown’s home.