Writer and director James Toback, who received an Oscar nomination for writing “Bugsy,” has been accused of sexual harassment by 38 women, AP reported quoting by The Los Angeles Times.
In the report, many of the women allege that Toback approached them on the streets of New York City and promised stardom. His meetings would often end with sexual questions and Toback masturbating in front of them or simulating sexual intercourse with them, according to the accounts.
The 72-year-old denied the allegations to The Los Angeles Times, saying he never met any of the women, or if he had it “was for five minutes and (I) have no recollection.”
On Sunday afternoon, Times reporter Glenn Whipp said the number of accusers had doubled since the story had published.
Toback hasn’t responded to a request for comment from The Associated Press.
The report comes amid the ongoing downfall of producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by over three dozen women. He was fired from the company he co-founded and widely denounced by his Hollywood peers.
Though less widely known than Weinstein, Toback has had a successful four-decade career in Hollywood and has a devoted following who have praised him for his originality and outsized, deeply flawed characters.
A New York native, Harvard graduate, creative writing professor and compulsive gambler, Toback used his own life as inspiration for his first produced screenplay, “The Gambler,” which came out in 1974 and starred James Caan. The film was remade in 2014 with Mark Walhberg and Brie Larson.
He also wrote and directed the Harvey Keitel film “Fingers,” the loosely autobiographical “The Pick-up Artist,” which starred Robert Downey Jr. and Molly Ringwald, “Two Girls and a Guy,” also with Downey Jr. and Heather Graham, “Harvard Man,” with Sarah Michelle Gellar, and the Mike Tyson documentary “Tyson.”
His one and only Oscar nomination is for writing the Barry Levinson-directed and Warren Beatty-starring “Bugsy.”
Toback’s upcoming film, “The Private Life of a Modern Woman,” stars Sienna Miller and Alec Baldwin and debuted at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year.
In the past few weeks, amid the Weinstein scandal and the rise of the #MeToo social media movement, in which women are revealing instances of sexual harassment and assault, more reports have emerged about the conduct of many working in the entertainment industry.
Just days ago, top Amazon Studios executive Roy Price resigned following sexual harassment allegations made by a “Man in the High Castle” producer.
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