Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn claims he tried to “warn people” about director James Toback, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 30 women.
“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,” Gunn wrote on Facebook. “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.”
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times published an exposé on Toback (The Pick-Up Artist, Two Girls and a Guy), which included sexual misconduct allegations from 38 women dating back decades. Toback denied the allegations and claimed he had “no recollection” of meeting the women who came forward to the Los Angeles Times. (As Gunn wrote, a 1989 Spy magazine article about Toback detailed his “street technique” and alleged conversations he had with women.)
According to the Guardians filmmaker, most of the women he claims to have spoken to were in their 20s when the alleged encounters occurred. “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,” Gunn wrote. “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.”
Gunn wrote that he didn’t have “any firsthand information” about Toback’s alleged behavior. But, he added, “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.”
Read Gunn’s full post below.
Earlier this month, in the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Gunn wrote a Facebook post calling out all sexual predators. “They are EVERYWHERE. And they are killing us. When someone is coerced sexually it not only affects that person, but the lives of those around that person, like rows of dominoes falling in every direction. It demolishes trust and comfort in all of society. And evil men are doing this everywhere, every day, in every occupation, and every type of household, all over the world,” Gunn wrote. “F—. THEM. ALL. I am hoping with recent truths coming to light, that their reign is coming to an end, in Hollywood, and everywhere. I promise to do everything I personally can to stop it, and I applaud and have deep love for every human being who breaks the silence.”