Oscar nominee James Toback is at the center of a new lawsuit filed by over three dozen women.
After sexual assault claims against Toback came to light in 2017, the “Gambler” screenwriter and “The Pick-Up Artist” director is accused of using his “reputation, power and influence in the entertainment industry” to target aspiring actresses.
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The court filing (via Page Six) alleges Toback would “lure young women through fraud, coercion, force and intimidation into compromising situations where he falsely imprisoned, sexually abused, assaulted, and/or battered them.” The almost 90-page lawsuit notes that Toback, now age 78, would make women “act provocatively” and perform sex acts on him to “see if they were right for the alleged ‘role'” in a fraudulent film.
The lawsuit calls Toback a “serial sexual predator” and names the Harvard Club of New York City as a complicit enterprise for allowing “Toback’s abuse to continue unchecked.”
The abuse in the suit spans the last 38 years, following the instating of the Adult Survivors Act in New York State, which allows victims of sexual abuse to come forward regardless of when the alleged crime was committed. The new lawsuit against Toback was filed due to his “explicit and implicit threats of blacklisting them in the industry, physically harming them, and/or even killing them if they did not comply with and remain silent about the sexual abuse they endured.”
The lawsuit states: “Toback repeatedly used his membership and affiliation with the Harvard Club of New York City to facilitate and carry out his abuse, luring his victims to the Harvard Club for meals and drinks and attacking them in the Harvard Club’s dining room, stairwells, bathrooms and hotel rooms.” Despite women reporting Toback, the Harvard Club still allowed him to have “unfettered access” to the private club. Toback also allegedly assaulted women at his mother’s house.
A spokesperson for the Harvard Club told Page Six that Toback’s membership was terminated when allegations first publicly came to light in 2017.
“Beyond that, the Harvard Club does not comment on pending litigation,” the representative said.
More than 300 women have accused Toback of abuse in recent years. The Los Angeles Times exposé on Toback in 2017 included Toback’s response that it would be “biologically impossible” for him to assault someone in the last two decades due to his diabetes and a heart condition. Veruca Salt band member Louise Post, playwright Karen Sklaire, “Mad Men” actress Becky Wahlstrom, and “Access Hollywood” host Natalie Morales detailed their assaults at the alleged hands of Toback. Julianne Moore recalled Toback’s repeated requests for her to audition for him in a private meeting.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office did not prosecute the director in 2018 due to the statute of limitations.
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