38 women sue director James Toback for sexual misconduct in new lawsuit


More than three dozen women have filed a lawsuit in New York against writer and director James Toback, accusing him of sexual abuse. Photo: AP

Thirty-eight women say in a new lawsuit that disgraced director James Toback sexually abused and assaulted them.

The civil suit, filed on Monday (Dec 5) in Manhattan Supreme Court, New York, comes after hundreds of women accused Toback of sexual misconduct since 2017.

He used his power and influence in Hollywood to lure young women – whether through force, coercion, intimidation or other means – into situations where he could take advantage of them, according to the lawsuit.

Many women said Toback’s behaviour was considered an “open secret” in Hollywood. In 2017, five women filed police reports in Los Angeles, but authorities didn’t pursue any of the cases because the statutes of limitations had expired.

Monday’s lawsuit against Toback was made possible through New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which took effect on Thanksgiving Day (Nov 24).

The suit describes Toback as a “serial sexual predator” who frequently trapped aspiring actresses with dreams of major roles, only to leave them shattered as victims of sexual abuse.

According to the lawsuit, Toback also threatened the women, obtaining their silence by implying he had mob connections and claiming he’d actually killed people in the past. In 2018, actress Selma Blair said he’d threatened to gouge her eyes out.

Monday’s lawsuit also named Midtown Manhattan’s Harvard Club as a defendant. According to the plaintiffs, Toback used the exclusive club as a “safe haven” for his abuse. – New York Daily News/Tribune News Service

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