The latest in a slew of sexual harassment scandals.
In a year in which claims of sexual harassment within the entertainment and media industry have presented themselves on such a public scale, it looks like Hollywood may very well be on its way to finally dealing with the issue instead of kicking it under a rug as history has displayed.
As the realities become more harrowing, Director James Toback, known for his work on films such as “Tyson,” “The Pick-Up Artist,” and the Oscar-nominated “Bugsy,” has now been accused of various forms of sexual misconduct by at least 38 different women according to a new report by the Los Angeles Times.
In different accounts, all the women detailed similar experiences in which Toback would brag about sexual encounters, masturbated in front of them, or touched them inappropriately. “He told me he’d love nothing more than to masturbate while looking into my eyes,” revealed Louise Post, a vocalist and guitarist of the band Veruca Salt who met Toback in 1987 while attending Barnard College. “Going to his apartment has been the source of shame for the past 30 years, that I allowed myself to be so gullible.”
Toback responded to the Times by alleging that he had a heart condition and diabetes, therefore making such accusations “biologically impossible.” He either denied having ever met an accusers or admitted to meeting them briefly and not remembering anything about each encounter.
“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” said actress Starr Rinaldi, who said that Toback approached her 15 years ago in Central Park, an adopted modus operandi for the director as he would walk the streets of New York, introducing himself to impressionable young actresses, and pulling out his articles written about himself, his Oscar nomination, and names like Robert Downeyy Jr., with whom he worked on three films and called a personal friend, to prove that he could turn them into a star.
“It’s a common thread among many women I know,” Karen Sklaire, a New York drama teacher told the Los Angeles Times. “After someone mentions they were sexually abused by a creepy writer-director, the response is, ‘Oh, no. You got Toback-ed.’”