Director James Toback has been accused of sexual harassment by over 300 women in the past week. Among his accusers are actors Selma Blair and Rachel McAdams (both of whom had interactions with Toback while he was casting his 2001 film Harvard Man), who spoke publicly about it to Vanity Fair after Glenn Whipp reported on the allegations in the Los Angeles Times.
To Vanity Fair, Blair—who initially spoke off the record with Whipp during his investigation—said:
“I still felt so powerless and scared. I kept thinking, ‘O.K., is there a big actress who is going to come out so that she can be the face of this? I want to bring as much awareness to this harassment as possible because I want Toback to be held accountable.”
In response to Toback’s original defense that his accusers were liars, and that he couldn’t have had sexually harassed them due to a heart condition and diabetes (?), Blair added:
“When he called these women liars, and said he didn’t recall meeting them and that the behavior alleged could not be attributed to him, I just felt rage and an obligation to speak publicly now.”
“I was 21 and in the middle of theater school when I met [Toback]. Theater school was a very safe space. [He] used the same language during my audition—that you have to take risks and sometimes you’re going to be uncomfortable and sometimes it’s going to feel dangerous. And that’s a good thing—when there is danger in the air and you feel like you are out of your comfort zone...Pretty quickly the conversation turned quite sexual and he said, ‘You know, I just have to tell you. I have masturbated countless times today thinking about you since we met at your audition.’”
McAdams says she then found a way to leave the room before Toback intensified.
When the LA Times reached out to Toback for comment on Blair and McAdams’s stories, he responded quite different than he did initially, telling the reporter, “I have nothing to say about anything,” then hanging up.
Strange considering that he had so much to say before!