Selma Blair and Rachel McAdams both met with James Toback early on in their careers and their stories are remarkably similar to the nearly 200 women that have come forward with their own experiences with the director to Vanity Fair. The New Yorker and the New York Times ran back-to-back stories about Harvey Weinstein and roughly a week later, sexual predatory allegations began to mount for 72-year old James Toback in an eerily similar way to the way that Weinstein is accused of abusing his power. Sexual misconduct has been around in Hollywood since the beginning, but it is only now that the full damage has come to light.
38-year old Rachel McAdams was 21 at the time when her representative set up a meeting for her and James Toback for a project called Harvard Man. McAdams remembers that the audition was a big one for her as she was as she says, "pretty fresh and new to all of this." The actual audition reportedly went without incident, but things turned sinister when Toback asked the 21-year old actress up to his hotel room later that evening. Rachel McAdams remembers that she reluctantly went up to the room to "workshop." She said that she was nervous, but James Toback was insistent. Rachel McAdams recounts what happened next. She explains.
"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.""
After that, the producer went into his manipulative spiel about being brave and that he wanted to, "build some intimacy between us because we have to have a very trusting relationship and this is a very difficult part." Toback then excused himself to the restroom and came back declaring that he had masturbated while thinking about McAdams again and asking to see her pubic hair. McAdams continued.
"Eventually, I just excused myself. I can't remember how long I was there. I felt like I was there forever. This has been such a source of shame for me-that I didn't have the wherewithal to get up and leave. I kept thinking, "This is going to become normal any minute now. This is going to all make sense. This is all above board somehow." Eventually I just realized that it wasn't."
45-year old Selma Blair shared a story that was very similar to Rachel McAdams', but that unfortunately went a little further and got much darker according to Blair. She arrived to meet James Toback at a hotel restaurant, but the director sent a message down that the young actress should come meet him in his hotel room. Blair explains.
"I went in the room feeling a little off balance about the arrangement, but he seemed nonplussed. He pulled out the script and said, "I look at you, and I see that we have a real connection. You could be an incredible actress, just by your eyes. But I can tell you don't have confidence.""
Toback then started one of his speeches about intimacy and later asking about Selma Blair's family, finally adding that he has had people killed before. Blair had this to say.
"That is how he got into my brain. You know, in acting classes they get into your personal history and connect that to work. So, this conversation didn't seem that strange. It seemed like he was concerned that I would not be seen as the actress I had the potential to be, and that he could do for me what he did for Robert Downey Jr."
After about 40 minutes, James Toback convinced a young Selma Blair that she should read the script naked so that he could see the way her body moved and in an effort to build trust and intimacy. Blair explains.
"I told him I was uncomfortable. But he continued to coax me-saying that this was in no way a come-on. This was part of training. He wanted to make me a good actress. He wanted to make me comfortable. I thought, "Well, my representation sent me to see him. He must be really important."
James Toback went on to humiliate the actress, telling her that her body needed a lot of work, but that he can help her and that she's a big mess. It was at this time that Blair decided to leave, but Toback blocked the door and pressed himself on to her. Blair refused to have sex with him, but the director was able to masturbate in front of her. She figured it was the best option instead of being raped by the director. After he finished, he reiterated that he can have people killed, insinuating that she should keep her mouth shut or be kidnapped and thrown into the Hudson River with cement blocks.
Both Rachel McAdams and Selma Blair shared the horrific stories in an effort to bring attention the situation that has plagued thousands of women in Hollywood for years. Both women were ashamed of their stories and did not tell many people over the past 20 years since the incidences occurred, but both actresses felt compelled to raise their voices after more and more accusers started to come out. James Toback denied the allegations to the Los Angeles Times, claiming that he had never met any of the then-38 accusers or (at that time), if he did, the meetings were very brief. He also claimed that for the last 22 years it had been "biologically impossible" for him to do what he was accused of, citing diabetes and a heart condition. You can read the rest of the stories from Rachel McAdams and Selma Blair via Vanity Fair.