The sexual assault and harassment allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and his subsequent fall from grace inspired hundreds of thousands of women across the world to tell their own stories of experiencing sexual abuse and, in some cases, even name their assailants.
Although sharing the details of something so traumatic and horrific is in no way easy, it is extremely important. It not only gives other survivors hope they are not alone, it also starts a conversation, teaching men how to not act and teaching women how to bravely name and shame their abusers — and that’s exactly what some women have done by speaking up against Hollywood giants James Toback and Roman Polanski.
Oscar-nominated writer and director James Toback is facing mounting sexual misconduct allegations, according to the Los Angeles Times, which cited 38 women alleging abuse dating back several decades. Since the story was published, 15 more women contacted author Glenn Whipp with further allegations against Toback.
The accusers include Veruca Salt vocalist Louise Post and actors Terri Conn and Echo Dano, along with a high school student and an aspiring model who chose to remain anonymous.
Most of the women’s stories followed a similar pattern: Toback allegedly approached them when they were in their early 20s or even younger, introduced himself as a film director and asked if the women had seen any of his work. If the woman did not know who he was, he would show her a couple of articles about himself he used to carry around and tell her she was perfect for a movie he had been supposedly working on.
The survivors said Toback would then invite them for a private meeting, where he would eventually steer the conversation toward topics of sexual nature, making the women uncomfortable. The report claimed the director then masturbated in front of the women and/or touched them inappropriately.
Although the 72-year-old director denied the allegations, saying he never met any of the women, or if he had it “was for five minutes and [I] have no recollection,” the accounts of his alleged victims expose the magnitude of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.
James Toback damn you for stealing, damn you for traumatizing. https://t.co/rLpboMcIMT— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 22, 2017
Most of the women said they didn’t come forward earlier simply because they were afraid of retaliation, but with the Weinstein scandal dominating the news headlines and powerful #MeToo campaign making the waves, the playing field has changed — maybe not too much, but still enough to cause an impact.
The allegations against Toback did not come as much of a surprise considering, just like Weinstein, his behavior was just another “open secret” in Hollywood.
In 1989, Spy published “The Pickup Artist’s Guide to Picking Up Women: A Case-by-Case Look at Movie Director James Toback’s Street Technique,” detailing Toback’s history of sexual misconducts, but the story failed to make much of a difference.
Tragically, Toback is not the only alleged abuser who has gotten so much leeway from other Hollywood giants — his pal Roman Polanski is right there next to him when it comes to such accusations.
Marianne Barnard, an artist from Santa Barbara, California, recently sat down with The Sun to share the story of her disturbing encounter with Polanski, alleging he molested her back in 1975 when she was only 10.
The alleged incident took place when Barnard’s mother took her to the beach to get photographs taken by Polanski.
“At first I had the understanding I was just going to the beach with my mom. We were there for a little while by ourselves and then he was there,” she recalled. “And she explained that this man wanted to take pictures of me in this fur coat. I thought it was to go into a magazine or something.”
Barnard, who had modeled previously as a child, said she wasn't alarmed by the situation at first. However, things changed as soon as her mother stepped away.
“First he was taking pictures of me in the bikini, then it was with the coat then he said take off the bikini top, which I was comfortable with as I was only 10 and I often ran around with no top on,” she continued. “But then he wanted me to take my bikini bottoms off — I started to feel very uncomfortable. Then at some point I realized my mom had gone. I don’t know where she went and I didn’t really register her leaving but she was no longer there. Then he molested me.”
The artist said she has suffered from PTSD and claustrophobia ever since.
Interestingly, as some one pointed out on Twitter, both Polanski and Toback share the same agent:
Well, well, well: James Toback and Roman Polanski share an agent.— Matt Jacobs (@tarantallegra) October 22, 2017
The accusations against Polanski and Toback are a powerful reminder that these sexual predators are not only protected, but also supported by others like them. The entertainment industry is filled with people like Harvey Weinstein, who think their status and fame have made them unaccountable for any misdeeds.
Several social media users commented on the allegation against the directors.
Weinstein, Polanski, Toback...almost like a culture of something. https://t.co/l3rLwVUh29— Mo Mo (@molratty) October 22, 2017
Hollywood has been protecting sexual assaulters like James Toback for a long time. Weinstein, Polanski, Allen, to name a few#SundayMorning— CA-Conservative (@artyvanguard) October 22, 2017
James Toback— Derek (@YRunvus1957) October 22, 2017
Lets all follow the moral and righteousness known as the Hollywood cesspool.
"James Toback" Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski, woody Allen, and Donald Trump All sexual predators who belong in prison. @piersmorgan— Anonymous Fidelis (@AnonFidelis) October 22, 2017
Roman Polanski, Harvey Weinstein, and now James Toback getting caught up harassing celebrities. WTF is going on in Hollywood?— Jdub ¥€$ money (@Allnyamouth) October 22, 2017
Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski. Time to stomp out ((( ))) predation of women— WASP ?????????? (@AltWasp) October 22, 2017
While sexual assault and harassment is not only prevalent in Hollywood, women everywhere face this problem.
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