Oscar-nominated director accused of sexual harassment by multiple women

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Susan Devaney
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Director James Toback has allegedly been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, with the number continuing to increase.

The Oscar-nominated director – who is best known for films Two Girls and a Guy and Tyson – has been accused of inappropriate behaviour and misconduct which left many of the women feeling “violated”.

The Los Angeles Times newspaper claims that of the 38 women who’ve came forward, 31 have spoken on record, detailing sexual abuse spanning the past 30 years.

The women have accused Toback of masturbating in front of them, rubbing his genitals up against them, asking inappropriate questions of a sexual nature and asking them to perform sexual acts in front of him.

He denies the allegations.

Toback is the second high-profile Hollywood name to be accused by multiple women of inappropriate behaviour of a sexual nature in a matter of weeks. With six women having now accused Harvey Weinstein of rape, and police in LondonNew York and Los Angeles actively investigating claims of sexual assault made against the disgraced producer.

Louise Post, a musician with band Veruca Salt, is among the women to speak publicly.

“He told me he'd love nothing more than to masturbate while looking into my eyes,” Post, who met Toback in 1987 while she was a student, told the paper. “Going to his apartment has been the source of shame for the past 30 years, that I allowed myself to be so gullible.”

Post previously named him on Twitter in response to the #metoo movement, saying: “Us too: by bosses, boyfriends, male babysitters, taxi drivers, strangers and movie director/pig #JamesToback #MeToo.”

Actress Adrienne LaValley, accused the screenwriter of trying to hump her leg during a meeting in 2008, resulting in him ejaculating in his trousers: “I felt like a prostitute, an utter disappointment to myself, my parents, my friends.

“And I deserved not to tell anyone.”

LaValley has also been vocal on Twitter, saying: I”'m one of them... f&^$ you, James Toback. And everyone like him.”

Starr Rinaldi, who was trying to make her name in the business 15 years ago, says she was approached by Toback in Central Park.

“In a weird sense, I thought, ‘This is a test of whether I’m a real artist and serious about acting,’” Rinaldi said. “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?’”

“And the horrible thing is, whichever road you choose, whether you sleep with him or walk away, you’re still broken,” Rinaldi continued. “You have been violated.”

Many of the women’s stories are similar in nature, featuring Toback masturbating in front of them.

However, Toback – who was nominated for Best Original Screenplay for Bugsy in 199 – has denied the allegations, arguing that health complications – citing diabetes and a heart compliant which he treats with medication – made the nature of the accusations “biologically impossible”.

Toback also claims he’s never met his accusers, or, if he has, it “was for five minutes and [he has] no recollection.”

Journalist Glenn Whipp, who authored the story on Toback, has tweeted since (23 October) to say that the number of women has since doubled.

For more on the Harvey Weinstein case, click here.

Images: Rex Features