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James Gunn says he’s been trying to “warn people” about James Toback for years

James Gunn (Photo: Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)

Thirty-eight women have now stepped forward against with sexual harassment allegations against The Pick-Up Artist and Black & White director James Toback, accounts that the Los Angeles Times published in a lengthy exposé on Sunday. The Bugsy screenwriter allegedly accosted women on the street, and tried to sway them by flashing his Directors Guild Of America card. If he managed to get them to agree to meet for a private interview or audition, Toback would proposition them, ask crude questions about their sex lives, or, in the more disgusting examples, “dry-hump them or masturbate in front of them, ejaculating into his pants or onto their bodies and then walk away.”

It’s not the first time such revelations about Toback have come to light; in 2010 and 2012, Gawker shared stories from women, including a 14-year-old teen, who said Toback approached on the street with an offer to appear in one of his films. And James Gunn says he’s also been telling people for years about Toback’s alleged behavior after hearing about it from friends and partners. The Guardians Of The Galaxy director posted about Toback’s history on Facebook yesterday, where he wrote that given what he’s heard from women and some of the other accounts that have been floating around for decades, he thinks “statistically, it would seem [Toback’s] numbers would have to be at least in the thousands.”


Gunn writes that because he had no firsthand knowledge of Toback sexually harassing women—and therefore couldn’t make any claims on their behalf without opening himself up to defamation lawsuits—he’d never been able to do much more than post about the unaddressed matter on his website and later, social media accounts. “So I did what I could do in my impotent state—for over twenty years now, I’ve been bringing up James Toback every chance I could in groups of people. I couldn’t stop him, but I could warn people about him,” Gunn wrote. The Super director linked to a 1989 story in Spy magazine, which detailed some of Toback’s gross PUA behavior. Gunn says he’s speaking out again now because “I told the women who would come forward I had their back. This is me doing my best to fulfill that promise.”


For his part, Toback’s denied the allegations reported on by the Los Angeles Times.

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