In the wake of The Los Angeles Times‘ expose on the sexual misconduct of James Toback, “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn wrote a lengthy Facebook post on Sunday on why he “despised” Toback after meeting over a dozen women who claimed Toback “accosted” them.
“For over twenty years now, I’ve been bringing up James Toback every chance I could in groups of people,” Gunn wrote. “I couldn’t stop him, but I could warn people about him.”
Gunn said that he first heard about Toback while living in New York in the 1990s and, over the years, he’s heard from 15 women who claimed that Toback assaulted them, including two close friends and a family member.
“When I lived in New York, in the ‘nineties, this dude was EVERYWHERE,” Gunn wrote. “He essentially goes up to women and says, ‘Hey, I’m James Toback, and I’m a famous director, and I feel like there’s a connection between us.’ Then he shows them some article on himself or some other artifact to prove he is who he is, and tries to get them to go somewhere else with him.”
In the Los Angeles Times’ report, 38 women accused Toback of sexual harassment, with 31 going on the record. According to the LA Times’ Matt Pearce, 16 additional women have contacted the report’s author, Glenn Whipp, with their own accusations since the piece was published.
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Read Gunn’s full Facebook post below:
When I lived in New York, in the ‘nineties, this dude was EVERYWHERE. I have personally met at least FIFTEEN WOMEN, probably more, who say that he’s accosted them in NYC. He essentially goes up to women and says, “Hey, I’m James Toback, and I’m a famous director, and I feel like there’s a connection between us.” Then he shows them some article on himself or some other artifact to prove he is who he is, and tries to get them to go somewhere else with him.
He has done this to three girls I’ve dated, two of my very best friends, and a family member… twice. Yes, he came up to her twice with the same stupid line, not realizing she was the same person. This is in addition to many other women I’ve talked to at parties or dinners about their interactions with Toback.
AND THAT’S JUST PEOPLE I KNOW. It’s not even mentioning the many other accounts going all the way back to an article that came out in SPY magazine in 1989 detailing this behavior, and I’m not including all the people I’ve talked to online who’ve had experiences. I mean, statistically, it would seem his numbers would have to be at least in the thousands.
Most of these women were in their early twenties. Most of them refused to go any further with him, but a few went to dinner, or to some sort of casting situation, or to someplace private.
And, honestly, if the stories were just about some crazed sex addict who approaches thousands of women on the street trying to get laid, I wouldn’t be posting this now. I don’t want to be attacking every Hollywood douchebag who hits on countless women. That type of behavior isn’t cool, but I think it’s important to separate douchebaggery from any kind of sexual coercion. But the women I talked to who DID go someplace private with Toback, told stories that were worse than the women only accosted on the street.
It’s important to say, I don’t have any firsthand information about any of this. But the stories are so eerily similar, and I’ve heard them again and again from some of the people I trust most in the world, I know the chances of them being untrue… well, it would just be impossible. I knew it was their choice whether or not they wanted to come forward publicly, but I let them know I would have their backs if they did.
So I did what I could do in my impotent state – for over twenty years now, I’ve been bringing up James Toback every chance I could in groups of people. I couldn’t stop him, but I could warn people about him.
Recently, I thought the guy had disappeared into obscurity and old age, but then I saw an article in the Huffington Post about him, entitled, “James Toback Gets Us, He Truly Gets Us.” I almost vomited. Did the person who wrote the article even do a basic Google search on Toback? It seemed like he was more current than I had thought, with a movie at the Venice Film Festival starring Sienna Miller. I had hoped his exploits had become well known enough that producers wouldn’t finance his films and actors wouldn’t work with him.
So since then I’ve been hoping the Weinstein/O’Reilly stuff would bring this vampire into the light (him and a couple others, frankly). So I was happy today to wake up to this story in the LA Times.
I told the women who would come forward I had their back. This is me doing my best to fulfill that promise.
Love to you all.