Selma Blair and Rachel McAdams are the latest women to come forward and accuse filmmaker James Toback of sexual harassment. Speaking with Vanity Fair, both actresses recall being asked to meet with Toback in his hotel room under the guise of an audition, and then being verbally harassed, and in the case of Blair, physically harassed.
Blair and McAdams’s stories come after the Los Angeles Times published an exposé Sunday detailing Toback’s alleged sexual harassment of 38 women (Per Vanity Fair, Blair was one of the women who spoke to the Times, under the condition of anonymity). Since the initial Times report, more than 200 women have come forward claiming they were sexually harassed by the filmmaker. Toback has denied the Times’ allegations, saying he didn’t meet any of the women who spoke up—or if he did, they were brief encounters—and that it was “biologically impossible” for him to engage in that behavior, due to his diabetes and heart condition.
According to Blair, while in his hotel room, Toback asked that she undress while reading a script, and that he eventually talked her into letting him masturbate by rubbing himself against her leg. “I didn’t want to speak up because, it sounds crazy but, even until now, I have been scared for my life,” she told Vanity Fair. “But then these brave women spoke out, and he called them liars and said he didn’t recall meeting them … that [the] behavior alleged was disgusting and it could not be attributed to him. I just felt rage. Pure rage.”
McAdams shared a similar story in which Toback summoned her to his hotel room. However, instead of reading a script, he asked that she read excerpts of reviews for his films. Toback then went to the bathroom and when he returned, McAdams alleged, he told her that he had masturbated thinking about her. “Sexual harassment is so pervasive, many women seem to have their own story,” the actress said. “I just think there is an ‘anything goes’ [attitude] in Hollywood that gets taken too far. And there is a sense that you don’t have to be responsible for your actions—there is just no limit to what you can be subjected to.”
The accusations against Toback come less than a month after movie producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment, and, in some cases, sexual assault and rape, by dozens of women in investigative pieces by The New York Times and The New Yorker, and later on social media.
You can read Blair’s and McAdams’s accounts of Toback’s behavior here.