Writer and director James Toback accused of sexual assault by 38 women

Writer and director James Toback, who received an Oscar nomination for writing Bugsy, has been accused of sexual harassment by 38 women in a report published on Sunday in the Los Angeles Times. In the report, many of the women allege that Toback approached them on the streets of New York City and promised stardom. His meetings would often end with sexual questions and Toback masturbating in front of them or simulating sexual intercourse with them, according to the accounts. The 72-year-old denied the allegations to the Los Angeles Times, saying he never met any of the women, or if he had it “was for five minutes, and [I] have no recollection.”
Thirty-one of the women spoke on the record including Louise Post, who is a guitarist and vocalist for the band Veruca Salt, and As the World Turns actress Terri Conn. Actress Echo Danon recalled an incident on the set of his film Black and White where Toback put his hands on her and said that he would ejaculate if she looked at his eyes and pinched his nipples. “Everyone wants to work, so they put up with it,” Danon told the LA Times. “That’s why I put up with it. Because I was hoping to get another job.”
On Sunday afternoon, LA Times reporter Glenn Whipp said the number of accusers had doubled since the story was published. Toback hasn’t responded to a request for comment from the Associated Press. The report comes amid the ongoing downfall of producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by over three dozen women. He was fired from the company he co-founded and widely denounced by his Hollywood peers. Weinstein accuser, actress-director Asia Argento, tweeted, “So proud of my sisters for bringing down yet another pig” in response to the Toback report.
Though less widely known than Weinstein, Toback has had a successful four-decade career in Hollywood and has a devoted following who have praised him for his originality and outsized, deeply flawed characters. A New York native, Harvard graduate, creative writing professor and compulsive gambler, Toback used his own life as inspiration for his first produced screenplay, The Gambler, which came out in 1974 and starred James Caan. The film was remade in 2014 with Mark Wahlberg and Brie Larson. Like Weinstein, reports of Toback’s alleged behaviour toward women have been around for decades. Spy magazine wrote about him in 1989, and the now-defunct website Gawker also published accounts from women in New York who had had run-ins with Toback.
But in the past few weeks, amid the Weinstein scandal and the rise of the #MeToo social media movement, in which women are revealing instances of sexual harassment and assault, more reports have emerged about the conduct of many working in the entertainment industry. Just days ago, top Amazon Studios executive Roy Price resigned following sexual harassment allegations made by a Man in the High Castle producer, Isa Hackett.
Source: http://www.trtworld.com/art-culture/writer-and-director-james-toback-acc…

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