Actresses Selma Blair and Rachel McAdams along with more than 200 additional women have come forward to accuse the Oscar-nominated director of sexual improprieties.
On Thursday, Vanity Fair published a piece in which actresses Selma Blair and Rachel McAdams alleged that they too were harassed by Toback.
“I have nothing to say about anything,” Toback, 72, said when The Times reached him by phone Friday morning. (He then hung up on the reporter.) In earlier reports, he denied previous allegations and said he had never met the women or, if he did, it “was for five minutes and have no recollection.”
Blair recounted the encounter with Toback back in 1999 meeting about his 2001 film, “Harvard Man.” The director promised to train her and that, to do so, she would have to recite a monologue naked.
When she tried to leave, Blair said, Toback got up and blocked the door, refusing to let her go until he had “release.” When Blair refused to touch him, he offered to ejaculate in his pants if she let him rub up against her.
Blair said that they proceeded so that she could get out of there “without being raped” and she felt “disgust and shame.”
She said he then rubbed himself against her leg, then told her: “There is a girl who went against me. She was going to talk about something I did.”
He then allegedly told Blair that the “girl” would end up “in the Hudson River with cement blocks on her feet” if she ever spoke about what happened.
“I didn’t want to speak up because, it sounds crazy but, even until now, I have been scared for my life,” Blair said. “But then these brave women spoke out, and he called them liars and said he didn’t recall meeting them … that [the] behavior alleged was disgusting, and it could not be attributed to him. I just felt rage. Pure rage.”
Blair, 45, and McAdams, 38, tell remarkably similar stories about Toback’s modus operandi—the requests to meet him in hotel rooms, flattery about their acting skills, the promise of a role in the movie Harvard Man, which opened in 2001.
The two women shared their stories with Vanity Fair.
Vanity Fair points out that Toback, and others accused of similar behavior such as Harvey Weinstein, reportedly exploited the vulnerability of new and young actors—the same weakness that these actors are told to use and explore in their acting classes.
“It was all so confusing,” McAdams told Vanity Fair. “I kept thinking, ‘When are we getting to the rehearsal part?'”
“I was 21 and in the middle of theater school when I met [Toback]. Theater school was a very safe space.” But Toback, McAdams said, “used the same language during my audition—that you have to take risks and sometimes you’re going to be uncomfortable and sometimes it’s going to feel dangerous. And that’s a good thing—when there is danger in the air, and you feel like you are out of your comfort zone.”
“I kept thinking, ‘This is going to become normal any minute now. This is going to all make sense. This is all above board somehow,'” McAdams is quoted as saying. “Eventually I just realized that it wasn’t.”