Actresses Rachel McAdams and Selma Blair have both come forward with tales of sexual harassment at the hands of disgraced director James Toback. They shared their stories in separate as-told-to interviews with Vanity Fair.
“I was 21 and in the middle of theatre school when I met [Toback]. Theater school was a very safe space," McAdams recalled. McAdams auditioned for a role in Toback's film Harvard Man, which came out in 2001. After her audition, Toback reached out to ask if she could meet him at his hotel to discuss the audition. McAdams was hesitant because she had work the next morning at 5:00 a.m.
"I went over to the hotel, went to the room, and he had all of these books and magazines splayed out on the floor," McAdams said. "He invited me to sit on the floor which was a bit awkward. Pretty quickly the conversation turned quite sexual. he said, 'You know, I just have to tell you. I have masturbated countless times today thinking about you since we met at your audition.'"
He later asked McAdams to show him her pubic hair. McAdams left after what felt like "forever." When she told her agent what happened, the agent was frustrated that this had happened "again."
Blair's tale is similar. She met Toback at a hotel to discuss Harvard Man, the same film McAdams had auditioned for. Blair, who was 28 at the time, was instructed to go up to Toback's hotel room upon arrival. Toback asked her where her parents were.
"I realise now he was really trying to figure out what support system I had," Blair recounted. Allegedly, when he found out Blair's relationship with her father was strained, he offered to kill her father for her, perhaps jokingly, perhaps not.
He then asked her, "Will you trust me? I cannot continue to work with you unless you trust me. I need you to take your clothes off. I need you to do this monologue naked.”
She took off her sweater, and did the monologue. Afterwards, he asked her to have sex with him. When she refused, Toback rubbed himself against her, still fully clothed, and told her he would just ejaculate in his pants.
Afterward, Toback threatened Blair.
Said Blair, "He told me, '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?'"
Blair finished her tale with a call to action: "I want to light the pyre of public opinion."
The two actresses join the ranks of the over 200 women who have accused Toback of sexual harassment. Toback is one of the many dominoes who have fallen in the wake of film titan Harvey Weinstein's fall from grace. Read McAdams and Blair's full account over at Vanity Fair.
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