The Jewish director of 1991 movie Bugsy has been accused of sexual harassment by well over 30 women, amid the fall-out from the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
James Toback, 72, this week entirely denied the claims being made in an article by The Los Angeles Times, the author of which said 31 women had spoken on-the-record and more than 70 women had made allegation either on- or off-the-record.
Toback’s most well-known film told the story of New York mobster Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel and starred Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, but he has also directed stars including Robert Downey Jr and Sienna Miller.
The women have accused Toback of masturbating in front of them, rubbing himself up against them, asking inappropriate questions of a sexual nature and asking them to perform sexual acts.
According to his accusers, Toback’s strategy followed a similar pattern, him approaching them in New York stores, boasting about his reputation, showing them clippings and articles as proof, then promising to make them “stars” if they became intimate with him. Several women said he inquired about their masturbation history and how they kept their pubic hair.
Toback denied the claims, saying he didn’t know any of the women, adding that it would be “biologically impossible” for him to do as described because he had diabetes and a heart condition.