The flood of sexual harassment allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein started a cultural conversation about the importance of outing sexual predators, both in the entertainment industry and beyond. And now, according to a new report from the LA Times, the Hollywood director James Toback is facing sexual harassment allegations from 38 women, 31 of whom spoke on the record.
His accuser's stories took place in movie trailers, hotel rooms, and even public parks, and most of them involved Toback leveraging his status as a director to get women alone. In many of the stories, he would frame a meeting as an audition or interview before launching into sexually predatory behavior.
The actress Adrienne LaValley most known for her work in Quantico, is one of the 31 women who spoke on record and shared her story. She told reporters about an encounter in a hotel room in 2008 when Toback allegedly tried to rub his crotch against her leg, and later ejaculated in his pants.
"The way he presented it, it was like, ‘This is how things are done,’" Lavalley said. "I felt like a prostitute, an utter disappointment to myself, my parents, my friends. And I deserved not to tell anyone."
Sadly, many of the allegations fall into a similar camp as Weinstein's, in that Toback leveraged his Hollywood connections to manipulate and abuse women.
The actress Echo Dannon shared that during the filming of Black and White Toback once knelt in front of her, placed his hands on her thighs and said, "If you look into my eyes and pinch my nipples, I’m going to come in my pants right now."
While Dannon was able to resist until he backed down, she shared how her career aspirations kept her silent.
"Everyone wants to work, so they put up with it. That’s why I put up with it. Because I was hoping to get another job," Dannon said.
One of the most terrifying aspects of the Toback report is not the staggering amount of women who have already come forward, but the fact that there are likely more.
Karen Sklaire, a New York drama teacher, playwright and actress told the LA Times of a meeting in Toback's office that ended with him grinding on her leg.
“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," Sklaire said.
The report itself has caused even more people to speak out on Twitter, both sharing their own stories and critiques of Toback.
He's had a shady reputation among his peers for years.
Some people on Twitter pointed out how Toback's body of work could point towards his feelings about women.
Toback has denied the allegations, and claimed that he's never met any of the women, and if he did it was "for five minutes and have no recollection."