The Los Angeles Times has fielded literally hundreds of stories about sexual harassment involving director James Toback.
L.A. Times writer Glenn Whipp, whose article Sunday about 38 women’s allegations against Toback, tweeted Thursday that 310 women have contacted him so far about their encounters with the writer-director. Whipp’s article came in the wake of growing allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
“He told me he’d love nothing more than to masturbate while looking into my eyes,” Toback accuser Louise Post, the guitarist and vocalist for the rock band Veruca Salt, told the Times.
Toback has had a long, ugly history with women, dating at least to the 1980s, when a 1989 Spy magazine report claimed that Toback used his position as a Hollywood director to ask women if they’d consider a role in one of his forthcoming films and then would ask them to meet him late at night.
Blair told Vanity Fair that her representatives set up a meeting with Toback in 1999, when the director asked the actress, then in her mid-20s, to read a monologue naked in his hotel room. After initially declining, Blair says, Toback insisted he was “training” her to be a better actress. So she complied.
At one point, Blair claimed, Toback began rubbing his penis through his pants before asking her, “Would you fuck me?”
“I tried to look away, but he would hold my face,” Blair told Vanity Fair. “So I was forced to look into his eyes. And I felt disgust and shame, and like nobody would ever think of me as being clean again after being this close to the devil. His energy was so sinister.”
Women have been opening up publicly about their encounters with sexual violence and harassment in the wake of the Weinstein accusations. A viral internet campaign, #MeToo, has highlighted the prevalence of harassment, which most believe is all too common.
Celebrities have taken a lead in telling their own stories, including Rose McGowan, America Ferrera, Reese Witherspoon and Ashley Judd. Men have also come forward detailing uncomfortable situations of harassment, including “Brooklyn-Nine-Nine” star Terry Crews.
A 2010 study based on a decade of data found that only 2 percent to 10 percent of sexual assault allegations are false reports, dispelling the myth that many women lie about it. If that percentage were applied to the Toback harassment allegations, there would still be at least 279 women reporting truthful episodes of sexual misconduct.
Sexual harassment and assault are some of the most underreported crimes in the United States. Only 344 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to police, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.