At least 38 women are accusing director James Toback of sexual harassment according to a Sunday Los Angeles Times report. Of the 38 women interviewed, 31 went on-record with the publication. Toback was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for 1991's Bugsy.
“He told me he’d love nothing more than to masturbate while looking into my eyes,” Louise Post, guitarist and vocalist for the band Veruca Salt said. This incident allegedly happened in 1987. “Going to his apartment has been the source of shame for the past 30 years, that I allowed myself to be so gullible.”
“The way he presented it, it was like, ‘This is how things are done,’” actress Adrienne LaValley told the Times. She recalled a 2008 hotel room incident when Toback allegedly tried to rub his crotch against her leg. She said she recoiled, and then the director ejactulated in his pants. “I felt like a prostitute, an utter disappointment to myself, my parents, my friends. And I deserved not to tell anyone.”
For the women who did tell others: the Times did interview many of the confidantes. And, apparently in the acting scene, Toback’s actions were so known that he became a verb.
“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,’” Karen Sklaire, a New York drama teacher told the Times. She also claims that Toback grinded against her leg during a 1997 meeting. “The numbers are staggering.”
Three of Toback's accusers -- Sari Kamin, Starr Rinaldi and Terri Conn -- appeared on NBC's "Nightly News” on Sunday, CNN reports.
Toback, 72, has denied the allegations. In fact, he argued that he hasn’t even met some of the accusers. He said if he did meet any of them, “was for five minutes and [he has] no recollection," according to the Times. The director said it would have been “biologically impossible” for him to have masturbated in front of his accusers, citing medication he’s been on for decades for his diabetes and heart condition. When the Huffington Post reached out to him, Toback said he is “writing something” about the situaiton. He declined to comment further at this time.
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