Director James Toback denied claims of sexual harassment against him in a stark interview with Rolling Stone four days before Sunday’s exposé in the Los Angeles Times in which 38 women came forward accusing the director of sexual harassment.
The Rolling Stone interview with reporter Hillel Aron was conducted Tuesday, October 17 and posted on the website today with audio (listen to it here); the Times‘ report was published Sunday, October 22.
Toback denied the allegations in the Times report, in which the 38 women detailed a common theme that the director would approach them on the streets and offer them a possible movie role.
The Times‘ reporter, Glenn Whipp, tweeted yesterday that the number of women who have contacted him about their encounters with Toback reached 310. Also on Thursday, Selma Blair and Rachel McAdams recounted their own incidents with the director in Vanity Fair.
In the Rolling Stone interview, Toback was asked about similar allegations.
“The idea that I would offer a part to anyone for any other reason than that he or she was gonna be the best of anyone I could find is so disgusting to me,” he said. “And anyone who says it is a lying c*cksucker or c*nt or both. Can I be any clearer than that?”
He added: “Anyone who says that, I just want to spit in his or her f*cking face. I’m sitting here with Sienna Miller. By the way, no one who’s ever worked with me would ever say anything like that. No one.” (Miller stars in Toback’s new film The Private Life of a Modern Woman, which bowed this year at Venice.)
After Toback asked Aron for names, the reporter gave two: Ambika Leigh, a server at the Beverly Hills Hotel at the time, and Sari Kamin, who detailed an incident in Central Park in an essay on Medium. Both told the Rolling Stone reporter similar stories about Toback and how he “humped” their legs in hotel room encounters.
“You know, I mean, what happens… this is just too stupid,” Toback said. “I mean, these are people I don’t know, and it’s things I never would have done. And it’s just not worth talking about. It’s idiotic.”
Later, Toback added, “There was an article years and years ago with a bunch of anonymous people. People read things… it’s all, you know, me too, me too, me too, me too, me too. Anyway, it’s too stupid to waste time on. It really is. It doesn’t have anything to do with my life in any way. It never has. I work seriously with complete integrity. I never, never, never have offered a part to anyone who didn’t deserve it, and I’ve never not delivered when I do offer a part. My word is better than a contract.”
When asked if he’s ever “just sort of met someone on the street, and started talking, ‘Oh, I’m a director, I’ll get you a film role, let’s hang out…,” Toback replied: “No, I’ve never said ‘I’ll get you a film role’ to anybody ever.
“Anything to that effect?” Aron asked.
“Anything like that is nauseating and disgusting,” Toback said. “And I would never say anything like ‘I’ll get you a film role.’ It’s too stupid to dignify. It’s pathetic lies. It’s just too f*cking embarrassing and idiotic. And if I were you, I wouldn’t go repeating it, unless you really knew it were true, because it isn’t. So that’s all I have to say. This is not worth wasting another second on.”
Toback is the director of Two Girls and a Guy and was Oscar-nominated for writing Warren Beatty’s Bugsy. Most recently he wrote and directed The Private Life of a Modern Woman, starring Miller and Alec Baldwin.