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.
By 4:50 p.m. on Sunday, the number of women who contacted Whipp with allegations against Toback doubled. Which means, to date, 76 women have come forward to accuse Toback of sexual harassment and assault. His was allegedly a pattern of predation that went on, unchecked, for decades.
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.
The average moviegoer would probably have to look up Toback on IMDB to remember what, exactly, he’s famous for. His first film was 1974’s The Gambler, starring James Caan, and he was nominated for his screenplay for Bugsy, a 1991 drama about Bugsy Siegal. His most recent film is The Private Life of a Modern Woman, starring Sienna Miller, which premiered at this year’s Venice Film Festival. As Whipp noted in his story, Toback’s work often revolved around “gambling, drinking, womanizing,” subjects that Toback was known to say “overlap with his own demons.” This parallel between his on-screen fixations and his alleged off-screen misconduct has not gone unnoticed.
I had no idea James Toback objectified women until i watched like any of his movies from the past 20 years
— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) October 22, 2017
Whipp wrote on Twitter that his investigation began with the claims of just one woman. He discovered more accusers through the #MeToo campaign, a decade-old movement for women to come forward with their personal experiences of sexual harassment and abuse that was reignited (and hashtagged for the social media age) by actress Alyssa Milano after blistering reports about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged history of sexual harassment and rape came out earlier this month.