Actress Rachel McAdams has joined a growing list of more than 200 women who have accused Hollywood writer-director James Toback of sexual assault and harassment.
In an interview with Vanity Fair Thursday, the Oscar-nonimnated Spotlight actress described an encounter she had with Toback in his hotel room when she was a 21-year-old theater student in Toronto. McAdams’s story comes after two back-to-back reports in the Los Angeles Times featured stories and on-the-record testimony from some hundreds of women, alleging that the Two Girls and a Guy director had sexually assaulted or harassed them.
The actress said that Toback invited her to his hotel room one night to audition for Harvard Man, a 2001 movie he directed. McAdams told Vanity Fair she didn’t want to go, because she was starting a TV job early the following morning.
“I wanted to focus on that, but he was so insistent. So I went over to the hotel, went to the room, and he had all of these books and magazines splayed out on the floor,” McAdams said. “He invited me to sit on the floor which was a bit awkward. Pretty quickly the conversation turned quite sexual and he said, ‘You know, I just have to tell you. I have masturbated countless times today thinking about you since we met at your audition.'”
McAdams said the hotel room was littered with articles about Toback and reviews of the director’s work, which he made her read aloud.
“I kept thinking, ‘When are we getting to the rehearsal part?’ Then he went to the bathroom and left me with some literature to read about him,” she continued. “When he came back he said, ‘I just jerked off in the bathroom thinking about you. Will you show me your pubic hair?’ I said no.”
McAdams said she was “very lucky” that she was able to leave the room without being physically assaulted by Toback. But she said the encounter has been a “source of shame” for her, and expressed hope that Hollywood could begin to tackle its “epidemic” of sexual harassment and abuse.
McAdams’s experience was apparently similar to other actresses who have detailed their encounters with Toback; the director would allegedly introduce himself to young actresses, promise them he could make them a star, invite them to his hotel room, and then would allegedly proposition them for sex, or rub himself up against them.
In the same Vanity Fair article, actress Selma Blair detailed her own experience with Toback, in which the director allegedly rubbed himself against her leg for “release.”
The allegations against Toback come as more than 50 women have accused former Hollywood super-producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault, while at least nine have accused him of rape. Weinstein was fired from his company and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Producers Guild of America, and reportedly remains in Arizona for sex addiction treatment.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum