In the wake of multiple accusations against Harvey Weinstein for sexual harassment, another prominent filmmaker is under fire. James Toback, known for directing films such as The Pick Up Artist and Two Guys and a Girl, and writing the Oscar-nominated Bugsy, was the focus of a bombshell LA Times feature published Monday. Thirty-eight separate interviews with women regarding his alleged abuse describe a now-familiar pattern of luring young actresses into vulnerable situations. Similar to stories about Weinstein, victims of Toback’s abuse felt powerless in the face of a Hollywood powerhouse and compelled to give in to his lewd demands in exchange for career opportunities.
The Weinstein revelations earlier this month have triggered a national conversation about the way women are treated in the workplace. The popular hashtag #metoo was tweeted nearly a million times in 48 hours from women both in the film industry and in other fields, sharing stories about their experiences of sexual harassment. The hashtag inspired The Man in the High Castle producer Isa Hackett to come forward about the harassment she experienced from Amazon Studios executive Roy Prince. The revelation came very shortly after the Weinstein story broke, and within a week of allegations becoming public, the executive left the company. Hackett told The Hollywood Reporter that women coming forward with the #metoo hashtag inspired her to speak out about the misconduct. Chris Savino, a Nickelodeon showrunner, was dismissed last week from the cartoon show Loud House after a dozen women came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment. Whether more predators will be outed remains to be seen, however, these stories surfacing so quickly after the Weinstein expose gives hope that paradigms are beginning to shift in the entertainment industry and perhaps more broadly in workplaces across the country.
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