The Oscar-nominated screenwriter and director, who has been accused of acting inappropriately – including masturbating in front of women, touching them and propositioning them during business meetings – by over 300 women, according to the Los Angeles Times, vehemently defended himself against the allegations in an interview with Rolling Stone on Friday.
Many of the women, including Rachel McAdams and Selma Blair, claim Toback — known for writing films like 1991’s Bugsy, 1987’s The Pickup Artist and 2014’s The Gambler — approached them about a possible movie role before eventually turning the conversation towards sex. The author of the Rolling Stone article, Hillel Aron, noted that his own wife had an encounter with the director when she was in high school. “Toback vaguely offered her a film role and then proceeded to talk to her about masturbation and pubic hair,” Aron claimed in the story, adding, “Fortunately, she managed to extricate herself.”
“Lemme be really clear about this,” Toback told Rolling Stone over the phone. “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 c——— or c— 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—— 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. But I’ve just finished a movie with Sienna, which you should see, and help to get out there, called The Private Life of a Modern Woman. But here, she’s sitting right here, so just say hello to her.”
At this point, an off-the-record conversation took place before the phone was passed back to Toback.
Toback then continued, “No, seriously, I find it offensive and insulting and disgusting, that people … Because it’s the opposite of the way I work. I don’t give my best friends parts unless they deserve them. Ever.”
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Asked specifically about allegations by Ambika Leigh and Sari Kamin, who both claim that Toback humped their legs without permission, the screenwriter denied knowing either woman. “This is just too stupid,” he 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.”
As for how he explains the large numbers of women coming forward with similar stories, Toback said, “They hear each other. And they gang up. 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.”
Toback also denied ever offering a movie role to a woman in return for sexual favors. “Anything like that is nauseating and disgusting,” he said, adding, “It’s pathetic lies. It’s just too f—— 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.”
After hanging up, Aron claims Toback called him back, saying that he found the questions to be “really rude” and suggesting that he should contact other people he has worked with. “You will never hear anything but a good word. To ignore that, and to instead quote people whose names I don’t know, it’s not a good way to deal. It’s beneath good journalistic standards.”