Debra Messing, Rose McGowan and More Celebs Denounce Director James Toback Over Sexual Harassment Claims

A report from the Los Angeles Times cited accusations from nearly 40 women who said the Hollywood figure assaulted them

By McKenna Aiello Oct 24, 2017 3:07 AMTags
James TobackElisabetta A. Villa/WireImage

Members of the entertainment industry have spoken out against director James Toback in droves, who is accused of sexually harassing nearly 40 women over three decades. 

The Los Angeles Times cited accounts from 38 women, all of which recalled inappropriate encounters with the man known for writing 1991's Bugsy. According to the report, Toback approached aspiring actresses and other young women with the promise of fame and job opportunities.

The individuals have accused the now 72-year-old of masturbating in front of them, non-consensual physical contact, requesting them to perform sexual acts and asking offensive questions.

In response, Toback denied the allegations and said he either never met his accusers or had "no recollection" of ever coming into contact with them. Additionally, he said suffering from diabetes and a heart condition for the past 22 years made it "biologically impossible" for him to commit such actions.

Those that have come forward include actress Adrienne LaValley, singer Louise Post and playwright Karen Sklaire

"The way he presented it, it was like, ‘This is how things are done,'" LaValley said. "I felt like a prostitute, an utter disappointment to myself, my parents, my friends. And I deserved not to tell anyone."

In the aftermath of the allegations leveled against him and other industry figures like Harvey Weinstein and Roman Polanski, individuals that once worked with Toback, know him personally or had a reaction to the claims shared their views on social media. 

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn said he's tried to "warn people" about Toback in a lengthy Facebook post, claiming he met 15 women who were "accosted" by him over the years. 

"I've been hoping the Weinstein/O'Reilly stuff would bring this vampire into the light (him and a couple others, frankly)," Gunn wrote in part. "I told the women who would come forward I had their back. This is me doing my best to fulfill that promise."

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Others that have addressed the scandal include Debra MessingRose McGowanAnthony Bourdain and others. Read on for their remarks: 


Since the Los Angeles Times published the story, journalist Glenn Whipp says 193 additional women have contacted him to discuss Toback. 

E! News has reached out to Toback for comment.