ByAngelo Delos Trinos, writer at
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Angelo Delos Trinos

It seems that The New York Times' expose of Harvey Weinstein's long history of sexual abuse was just the tip of the iceberg, as more stories of predatory behavior continue to pour out of Hollywood. The latest bombshell was dropped by The Los Angeles Times, which reports that almost 38 women accused director and screenwriter James Toback of sexual harassment.

In the Times' latest article, the women (some of whom chose to remain anonymous) shared their sickening experiences with Toback. The stories the women told the Times all had similarities, wherein the Black and White director reportedly lured them into uncomfortable positions through questionable casting auditions and – by using his Hollywood credentials – convinced aspiring actresses that it was all part of the "business."

'Black and White' [Credit: Screen Gems]
'Black and White' [Credit: Screen Gems]

Journalist Glen Wipp gave a summary of the women's stories in his latest Times piece, detailing what malicious things Toback said and how he propositioned sex to the women he was supposedly "casting" for his next movie.

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.

One of those to come forward was actress Adrienne LaValley, who recalled how humiliated she felt during her meeting with the Bugsy director when he tried to "dry-hump" her leg before ejaculating into his pants.

“The way he presented it, it was like, ‘This is how things are done. I felt like a prostitute, an utter disappointment to myself, my parents, my friends. And I deserved not to tell anyone.”

A disturbingly common thread throughout these stories is that the director had a tendency to lure women who were either approaching or in their early '20s with the promise of an illustrious acting career. Once trapped in a room with him, Toback would usually demand that the aspiring actress help his "sexual release," refusing to let them out unless they did so.

The allegations indicate that Toback's been doing this since the '70s, roughly the time his career first took off. In fact, his lecherous behavior has become such a well-known open-secret that according to drama teacher Karen Sklaire, Toback's name is synonymous with lewd sexual acts in the film industry.

“It’s a common thread among many women I know … after someone mentions they were sexually abused by a creepy writer-director, the response is, ‘Oh, no. You got Toback-ed."

After recounting her audition under Toback, which only ended when she pinched his nipples while he came in his pants, an anonymous actress was quoted as telling her agent that she didn't want to see Toback ever again, and that other aspiring actresses like herself should be warned about him.

"He’s a vile person. And you shouldn’t ever send another woman to him."

When asked for his side of the story, Toback denied the allegations, saying that it was "biologically impossible" for him to have done what the women accused him of due to his diabetes and heart condition. He also claims that he never met the women in question, and if he did, it “was for five minutes" and claims to "have no recollection."

Source: The Los Angeles Times


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