The Los Angeles Times sent shockwaves through Hollywood with its October 22 report on James Toback’s alleged history of sexual harassment. 38 women were included in the initial report, with many of them sharing similar stories of Toback reportedly meeting young women on the street or in parks in New York and Los Angeles and inviting them to a hotel room, where the “work interview” would quickly turned sexual. Within two days of the article’s publication, the LA Times reports that over 200 additional women have come forward with accusations against Toback.
Some of the women have shared their stories on social media, such as “Access Hollywood” host Natalie Morales, who tweeted that she had a similar encounter with Toback in Central Park early in her career. Morales told the newspaper that until the accusations against Toback started coming to light, she had simply thought the encounter was “a creep hitting on me with the oldest line in the book.”
The Times reports that the Los Angeles Police Department has received numerous phone calls related to Toback in the last several days, while Manhattan District Attorney’s office is encouraging women to call the office’s sex crimes hotline number if they have stories about Toback.
Toback, 72, has denied all allegations against him. He told the Times that he has either never met any of the women or, if he has, it was “for five minutes and [he has] no recollection.” Toback also says it’s been “biologically impossible” for him to do anything he’s been accused of for the last 22 years due to diabetes and a heart condition. Multiple women’s stories have ended with claims that the director dry-humped them or masturbated in front of them.
The accusations against Toback arrived just over two weeks after the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal erupted in Hollywood. Since the publication of the first article in The New York Times on October 5, more than 50 women have accused the studio mogul of harassment and abuse. Actresses Rose McGowan and Asia Argento have claimed Weinstein raped them. In the wake of the Toback accusations, the director’s longtime agent, former ICM chief Jeff Berg, has ended his relationship with him.