Oscar nominee James Toback, perhaps best known for his screenplay, Bugsy, has been accused by more than three dozen women of sexual misconduct. Stories of the director's supposed uncomfortable and sometimes predatory behavior have been circling around Hollywood for almost three decades, but never have so many women spoken on the record and in the same place about the seventy-two-year-old.
The allegations were compiled in a lengthy expose in The Los Angeles Times. The women, thirty-eight in total, all have their own unique stories, but most of them involve the Hollywood veteran allegedly approaching them about a potential part in an upcoming movie or possible collaboration. A subsequent meeting would allegedly involve James Toback asking them to undress or discuss details of a personal and sexual nature. Often, he would then allegedly touch himself or even masturbate inside his pants until orgasm.
Following his graduation from Harvard, Toback wrote for Esquire Magazine and later penned a book about his time living with football legend Jim Brown. In the mid-1970s, his screenplay, The Gambler, was made into a movie starring James Caan (It was later remade. He was NOT happy.). A string of mostly forgotten movies followed until he wrote Bugsy, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. He later made a few movies with Robert Downey Jr and a well-received documentary about Mike Tyson.
Throughout his career, rumors of strange, hypersexual and sometimes inappropriate behavior followed him. He allegedly bragged about participating in orgies with Jim Brown. Spy Magazine accused him of approaching large numbers of women in New York City, talking about his film credits and asking they join him for late night meetings about future projects. Other Hollywood stars have, on occasion, spoken about his behavior publicly, as well.
Guardians Of The Galaxy director James Gunn came forward earlier today with a blistering post about his personal history with Toback. You can read an excerpt below...
And, honestly, if the stories were just about some crazed sex addict who approaches thousands of women on the street trying to get laid, I wouldn't be posting this now. I don't want to be attacking every Hollywood douchebag who hits on countless women. That type of behavior isn't cool, but I think it's important to separate douchebaggery from any kind of sexual coercion. But the women I talked to who DID go someplace private with Toback, told stories that were worse than the women only accosted on the street.
James Toback has not yet responded to all of the allegations, but he did reach out to Variety before the original story was published and denied the first allegation. No doubt more will emerge about this troubling story in the coming days. We'll keep you updated as it does.