Be warned: The content of this post won’t be particularly easy to read. For anyone feeling vulnerable or sensitive after already reading so very many accounts of sexual harassment and assault within the entertainment industry in the last few months, you may want to just stop reading right now.
It’s been about a week now since Hollywood actresses Selma Blair (Hellboy, Cruel Intentions, Legally Blonde) and Rachel McAdams (Wedding Crashers, Doctor Strange) were among 38 women to work with the L.A. Times on a mammoth story about alleged sexual harassment and assault by Hollywood screenwriter and director James Toback (Bugsy, Harvard Man). Since that time, an astounding 200-plus women have come forward with similar stories, drawing a picture of a lifelong string of disgusting, shockingly brazen sexual predatory behavior by Toback. Together, they’ve created an intricate web of accusations which are all the more frightening for how similar they all appear to be—filled with the same bizarre requests and methods of disempowering the women the director had been taking advantage of.
Now, Blair and McAdams have shared their own personal stories via another long story in Vanity Fair. They’re just as disgusting as anything we’ve heard before, and they share the same shocking similarities. In fact, both stories of sexual harassment here even share the same time frame, as both young actresses were being promised a role in the same film, 2001’s Harvard Man, which eventually cast Sarah Michelle Gellar and Joey Lauren Adams.
In Blair’s account, Toback asked to meet to discuss a role in his hotel room, before demanding that she strip naked for him so they could “get to know” each other and “trust” one another more fully. She then says he asked for sex, but when mildly rebuffed he instead literally dry-humped her leg until ejaculating in his pants. This is a familiar story, as countless other women who have since reported their encounters with Toback have said the exact same thing. Afterward, Toback reportedly threatened her very life, using dialog that sounds so cartoonishly sinister, it could have come straight out of a movie. From Vanity Fair:
“There is a girl who went against me. She was going to talk about something I did. I am going to tell you, and this is a promise, if she ever tells anybody, no matter how much time she thinks went by, I have people who will pull up in a car, kidnap her, and throw her in the Hudson River with cement blocks on her feet. You understand what I’m talking about, right?”
McAdams, in her account, reported a similarly lecherous attitude and bizarre personal questions that Toback foisted upon her, before she was able to beat a hasty retreat. You can read the full stories, in their long, disturbing entirety, at the link above.
As more horrible stories about powerful men in Hollywood continue to roll in, we’re all asking ourselves how we ever allowed things to get this bad. We hope the victims of all sexual predators are able to find the combination or peace and justice they’re seeking.