7:26am PT by Ryan Parker
'Guardians of the Galaxy' Director Says He Tried to "Warn People" About James Toback
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn says he tried for years to warn people about James Toback, the director who over the weekend was accused of sexual misconduct by more than 30 woman.
In a lengthy Facebook post published Sunday, the Guardians of the Galaxy writer and director said he personally knew more than a dozen women who accused the Oscar-nominated Bugsy director Toback of sexual harassment.
"He essentially goes up to women and says, 'Hey, I'm James Toback, and I'm a famous director, and I feel like there's a connection between us.' Then he shows them some article on himself or some other artifact to prove he is who he is, and tries to get them to go somewhere else with him," Gunn wrote of the 15 women he said informed him of the alleged interactions. "He has done this to three girls I’ve dated, two of my very best friends, and a family member...twice. Yes, he came up to her twice with the same stupid line, not realizing she was the same person. This is in addition to many other women I've talked to at parties or dinners about their interactions with Toback."
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported 38 women had come forward to accuse Toback of sexual harassment and misconduct, allegations that span decades.
Toback, 72, who helmed the films Black and White and Two Girls and a Guy, denied all allegations of misconduct.
In his post, Gunn said he was speaking up because the stories he heard were more than just the typical older Hollywood man hits on attractive younger wannabe starlet.
"And, honestly, if the stories were just about some crazed sex addict who approaches thousands of women on the street trying to get laid, I wouldn't be posting this now," Gunn wrote. "I don't want to be attacking every Hollywood douchebag who hits on countless women. That type of behavior isn’t cool, but I think it’s important to separate douchebaggery from any kind of sexual coercion. But the women I talked to who DID go someplace private with Toback, told stories that were worse than the women only accosted on the street."
However, Gunn made it clear he had no direct proof of any wrongdoing, just the word of numerous people he believes.
"But the stories are so eerily similar, and I’ve heard them again and again from some of the people I trust most in the world, I know the chances of them being untrue…," Gunn wrote. "Well, it would just be impossible. I knew it was their choice whether or not they wanted to come forward publicly, but I let them know I would have their backs if they did. 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."