In the wake of the Los Angeles Times‘ October 23 exposé on James Toback’s history of sexual harassment, reporter Glenn Whipp tried to get the filmmaker’s Seduced and Abandoned co-star and producer Alec Baldwin on the record. That finally happened Sunday night.
In sum, Baldwin told Whipp that in his time with Toback on the 2013 HBO Cannes Film Festival documentary, as well as his latest movie The Private Life of a Modern Woman, “I never had one conversation about his sex life” that “in my time with Jimmy, it was absolutely, positively business.”
“I don’t have any information firsthand about what I’m hearing. These are everybody else’s secondhand assertions about what he did,” the The Cooler Oscar nominee told the LAT. “I can’t assume that all these people are lying. And I feel terrible.”
Many believed Baldwin was sidestepping the media storm around Toback, largely remaining silent except for a tweet last Tuesday in which Baldwin said, “I cheered when Gawker lost its case to Hulk. So, of course The Decider wants to tar me w the Toback brush. Kayla Cobb, ur a dreadful writer.”
Baldwin told Whipp in a report published today that he had heard whispers years ago about Toback’s history of hitting on women, when the director was making the Robert Downey Jr-Molly Ringwald comedy The Pick-Up Artist. But Baldwin says he had no clue of the alleged severity of Toback’s encounters, especially the audition episode involving Selma Blair which the actress detailed last week for Vanity Fair.
In fact, the flood of sexual harassment allegations post-Harvey Weinstein has Baldwin’s head spinning: “It is overwhelming for people to grasp the magnitude of this. Daryl Hannah. Probably half the actresses I’ve ever heard of in my life have from these recent generations have come forth to talk about Harvey or this one or that one.”
Asking Baldwin his thoughts about the 325 women who’ve accused Toback of sexual misconduct, the actor said what this scandal is really about is President Donald Trump, who he impersonates on Saturday Night Live.
“There is some veneer to it of complexity because they can’t get the guy they really want to get,” he said. “[Donald] Trump is a sexual predator. On the record, there’s all kinds of evidence that Trump has behaved this way, and he’s the president of the United States and that being just one of the things that is horrifying people about Trump, his opinions, his behavior, his methodology and there’s nothing you can do about that. You cannot touch him.”