James Toback Denies Sexual Harassment Allegations, Citing His Diabetes and Heart Condition

Following nearly 40 accusations, Toback says the behavior described was not possible

James Toback has denied sexually harassing nearly 40 women, saying that he couldn’t have done so for medical reasons.

The Hollywood writer and director known for films like Bugsy and Two Girls and a Guy responded to these sexual harassment allegations while speaking to The Los Angeles Times this week, flatly denying that any of them occurred.

“He also repeatedly claimed that for the last 22 years, it had been ‘biologically impossible’ for him to engage in the behavior described by the women in this story, saying he had diabetes and a heart condition that required medication,” The Los Angles Times reported. “Toback declined to offer further details.”

Director James Toback attends the photocall of the movie "The Private Life of a Modern Woman" presented out of competition at the 74th Venice Film Festival on September 3, 2017 at Venice Lido.

James Toback at the Venice Film Festival on September 3, 2017. | Tiziana Fabi/Getty Images

In addition, Toback said that he had never met any of the women who came forward with allegations against him, or if he did meet them it was for no longer than five minutes.

A total of 38 women made accusations against James Toback this week, with most saying that he approached them somewhere in Manhattan, bragging about his clout in Hollywood and saying he could make them a star. He would then have a meeting with them, with this meeting becoming more and more personal until eventually he began masturbating. This behavior has been allegedly happening for at least 30 years.

This is actually not the first time that there have been reports of this kind about James Toback. Spy Magazine reported on it back in 1989. Toback told The New York Times back then that the article was slander and “an occupational hazard of personal filmmaking.” He also said that media coverage has subjected him to “personality stuff no other directors are subjected to.”

James Toback speaks onstage at the Sixth Annual Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony Benefit Gala Honoring Don DeLillo, Billy Collins, and Katrina vanden Heuvel at the New York Public Library on October 27, 2014 in New York City.

James Toback in 2014. | Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Gawker has also reported on these accusations against Toback several times going back to 2008, when they published a piece called, “Is Director James Toback STILL A Wannabe Pick-Up Artist?” In the article, they quote a tipster as saying that Toback is still engaging in the behavior described in the 1989 Spy Magazine piece.

On his personal Facebook account this week, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn said that these reports of James Toback sexually harassing women are accurate based on what he has heard from friends.

“When I lived in New York, in the ‘nineties, this dude was EVERYWHERE,” Gunn said. “I have personally met at least FIFTEEN WOMEN, probably more, who say that he’s accosted them in NYC.”