The accusations go back all the way to the 1980s. His opening line had a few variations. One went: “My name’s James Toback. I’m a movie director. Have you ever seen ‘Black and White’ or ‘Two Girls and a Guy’?”
He’d start to drop names. He had an Oscar nomination for writing the Warren Beatty movie “Bugsy.” He directed Robert Downey Jr., in three movies. The actor, Toback claimed, was a close friend; he had “invented him.” He wanted you to believe he was a Hollywood bigwig and that he could make you a star.
On Sunday morning, the L.A. Times reported that 38 women had come forward to accuse director James Toback of sexual harassment.
Within hours of that story’s publication, 15 more women reached out to reporter Glenn Whipp, adding their names and disturbing, disgusting accounts to the list.
As his accusers tell it — 31 of the 38 in the L.A. Times piece spoke on the record — Toback, a director of moderate renown, lured women into secluded locations under the guise of offering work after an audition. Those encounters, Whipp reported, “quickly turned sexual”:
During these meetings, many of the women said, Toback boasted of sexual conquests with the famous and then asked humiliating personal questions. How often do you masturbate? How much pubic hair do you have? He’d tell them, they said, that he couldn’t properly function unless he “jerked off” several times a day. And then he’d dry-hump them or masturbate in front of them, ejaculating into his pants or onto their bodies and then walk away. Meeting over.
Toback denied the allegations to the Times, insisting that he had either never met any of the women in question or that, “if he did, it ‘was for five minutes and have no recollection.’” He also said that, due to a heart condition and his diabetes, it would have been “biologically impossible” for him to violate these women in this way.
Celebrities and stars came out on Twitter with the support of the accusers.
“Will & Grace” star Debra Messing also tweeted about the allegations.