After The Los Angeles Times revealed that director and screenwriter James Toback was feared by women in the film industry due to his abuse of power, countless people in Hollywood shared their own experiences and the rumors they heard about Toback. One of those to hear of Toback's notoriety was Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, who explained it all in a lengthy, personal post on Facebook. Check it out below.
Gunn explained that when he still lived in New York City, stories about Toback's deeds were rampant and he heard them from no less than 15 people close to him. As Gunn put it, Toback approached: "three girls I’ve dated, two of my very best friends, and a family member... twice." Though he never witnessed the abuse himself, he knew that something was wrong.
"It’s important to say, I don’t have any firsthand information about any of this. But the stories are so eerily similar, and I’ve heard them again and again from some of the people I trust most in the world, I know the chances of them being untrue … well, it would just be impossible.”
The Slither director therefore warned his female colleagues about the infamous director.
“So I did what I could do in my impotent state — for over twenty years now, I’ve been bringing up James Toback every chance I could in groups of people. I couldn’t stop him, but I could warn people about him.”
Gunn also acknowledged that warning people may not seem like much, but it was the most he could do. Legally speaking, using second-hand information to accuse someone of something as serious as sexual harassment is complicated, and this would have put Gunn in an incredibly difficult legal position.
Gunn, however, felt that his efforts paid off in the end. Despite the time it took for Toback's predatory nature to make it to the public eye, Gunn never lost hope that it would eventually be brought to light. The recent exposes about sexual harassment in workplaces and well-known personalities was what the filmmaker was waiting for.
"I had hoped his exploits had become well known enough that producers wouldn’t finance his films and actors wouldn't work with him... So since then I’ve been hoping the [Harvey] Weinstein/[Bill] O'Reilly stuff would bring this vampire into the light (him and a couple others, frankly). So I was happy today to wake up to this story in the LA Times... I told the women who would come forward I had their back. This is me doing my best to fulfill that promise."
Gunn ended his personal post by promising to support anyone who comes out and reveals what harrowing things they went through under Toback, hoping that the rejection of a sexually abusive culture in the film industry would continue.