Just when we thought we’d done away with one avalanche of horror that is Harvey Weinstein, a report surfaced about another Hollywood director and producer accused of sexual assault. James Toback, the writer for the 1991 Oscar nominated movie Bugsy and the director of movies like The Pick-Up Artist and When Will I Be Loved, has been accused of sexual harassment by over 30 women he has worked with.
Most of his accusers are actresses who claimed that Toback had lured them with offers to act in his movies. He’d then proceeded to perform sexual acts like dry hump them or masturbate to them, against their will. As it was with Weinstein, most women were scared of speaking up against the 72-year-old director and were afraid of losing out on work.
Toback’s story is all too familiar. When I mentioned this story to an acquaintance, he remarked that in a post-Weinstein world, an avalanche of similar stories is bound to come out. “It’s the media pressure,” he’d remarked. But it’s not the media pressure that’s bringing all the dirt buried under the carpet. Weinstein getting his due for his actions and the number of women speaking out against him (including a fantastic, if not heart-breaking story about Weinstein by actress Lupita Nyong’o) encouraged other women to speak out against their harassers. You know how when we start pest control in our homes, all the insects start coming out of their corners? The onslaught of voices against Weinstein propelled others to no longer stay silent and lure the insects out of their shady corners. The homecoming prom of the likes of Weinstein, the Affleck brothers, Bob Weinstein and now, James Toback sings a familiar tune; that the women they made victims out of are coming for them and they are running out of carpets to hide under.