Web of Sexual Harassment in Hollywood Grows: 38 Women Accuse Big-Name Director

Published October 23rd, 2017 - 12:58 GMT
Mike Tyson stands with James Toback. (Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com)
Mike Tyson stands with James Toback. (Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com)

The Los Angeles Times says it has spoken to 38 women who allege filmmaker James Toback sexually harassed them over the last 30 years.

The women told the newspaper for an article published Sunday that Toback spoke to them in sexually explicit language, attempted to trade sexual favors for career opportunities, rubbed his genitals on them or masturbated in front of them without their encouragement or consent.

"The way he presented it, it was like, 'This is how things are done,'" actress Adrienne LaValley said. "I felt like a prostitute, an utter disappointment to myself, my parents, my friends. And I deserved not to tell anyone."

"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,'" said Karen Sklaire, a drama teacher, actress and playwright.

The Times said Toback denied the allegations when asked about the women's accounts.

Toback, 72, has credits that include The Gambler, The Pick-up Artist, Bugsy, Black and White, Two Girls and a Guy, When Will I Be Loved and The Private Life of a Modern Woman.

Entertainment Weekly said it tried to reach the filmmaker by phone Sunday for a comment on The Times expose and he did not immediately respond to a voicemail message.

None of the women who talked to The Times have filed criminal charges against the writer-director. They are telling their stories in the wake of a scandal involving producer Harvey Weinstein. Reports of how Weinstein allegedly sexually harassed and assaulted women for years have been fueling outrage from members of the entertainment industry this month and women throughout the world are coming forward to share their own experiences in the workplace.

Weinstein, 65, recently has been seeking help for sex addiction and behavioral issues but has emphatically denied engaging in any non-consensual sexual activity. He has been fired from The Weinstein Co. and his wife left him after more than two dozen women made their claims against him public.

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