Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
James Toback at the Venice Film Festival in September. (Photo: Elisabetta A. Villa/WireImage/Getty Images)

Writer Hillel Aron has a more vested interest than most in the sexual harassment and assault accusations against director James Toback: He says that when his wife, KCRW public radio director Anna Scott, was in high school, “Toback vaguely offered her a film role and then proceeded to talk to her about masturbation and pubic hair.” So after interviewing a number of women about their own experiences with The Pick-up Artist director, Aron set up an on-the-record phone interview to ask Toback some questions, as he depicted in a Rolling Stone article today. The interview took place four days before The L.A. Times article that first broke the story of the multiple allegations against Toback.

Me: So… I’ve got some allegations made about you. I guess the most simple one is that you approach women on the street and offer them film roles, and talk about how you want to be involved with them, working in movies, and then the conversation quickly switches in some way to sex.

James Toback: Lemme be really clear about this. I don’t want to get a pat on the back, but I’ve struggled seriously to make movies with very little money, that I write, that I direct, that mean my life to me. 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. And anyone who says it is a lying cocksucker or cunt or both. Can I be any clearer than that?

Me: No, that’s pretty clear.

Toback: Anyone who says that, I just want to spit in his or her fucking face.

With a charming, level-headed demeanor like that, we can only pray that Toback winds up in court soon. The L.A. Times reported earlier this week that “The Manhattan district attorney’s office is encouraging women to call its sex crimes hotline in relation to Toback,” who currently lives in New York.


Meanwhile, writer Glenn Whipp, who first broke the story of the multiple accusations against Toback in The L.A. Times, reports:


Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

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