More Than 30 Women Accuse Writer-Director James Toback of Sexual Harassment
More than 30 women have accused longtime Hollywood writer and director James Toback of sexual harassment, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.
Thirty-eight women described similar meetings with Toback in which he boasted of sexual conquests, touched them inappropriately or masturbated in front of them, the newspaper reported.
Thirty-one of the women spoke to the Times on the record.
Toback has written or directed more than a dozen films, including "Tyson," "The Pick-Up Artist" and "Bugsy," for which he received an Oscar nomination. Toback could not immediately be reached by NBC News. His agent, Jeff Berg, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Toback denied the allegations to the Times, saying he had either never met his accusers or did so only briefly. He also told the paper that he had a heart condition and diabetes, making the allegations "biologically impossible."
In an interview with NBC News, Sari Kamin, a journalist who was an aspiring actress in 2003, said she met Toback at a Kinko's in New York City. Toback approached her with a copy of one his movies — "Two Girls and a Guy" — a business card and a pitch and told her "he felt a connection to me and wanted to put me in a film," she said.
Over six months, she said, they'd have dinner and he would ask about her sex life. At the same time, he'd tell her that he planned to put her in a movie.
"He kept kind of pulling me in, even though I felt really uncomfortable," she said. But eventually, she went to hotel room with Toback, where — despite her reservations — he persuaded her to get undressed, she said.
"He said that if he was going to cast me in a film that I would have to be comfortable with that," she said. "Then he came over to me when I was sitting in a chair and he started rubbing his groin against me."
Kamin jumped up, grabbed her clothes and ran, she said.
Another woman, actress Terri Conn, told NBC News that when she met Toback on a Manhattan street in 1999, he approached her with a similar pitch. Conn had just moved to New York City for a role in "As The World Turns."
During a meeting in a secluded section of Central Park, Conn said, Toback "rubbed up against my knee and said that he needed to stare into my eyes."
Both women said a recent sexual misconduct scandal surrounding Hollywood mega-producer Harvey Weinstein triggered a flood of memories.
"I see a lot of women coming forward, and there's a lot of power in that," Kamin said. "I thought: Maybe if I told my story, there's an opportunity to prevent some women from being targeted."
The media and entertainment worlds have been rocked by allegations of sexual misconduct, with scores of women accusing everyone from comedian Bill Cosby to President Donald Trump. The latest scandal erupted two weeks ago, after The New York Times reported that Weinstein had been accused of sexually harassing women for decades. He was fired by the studio he co-founded three days later.