James Toback won't be charged — and here's why that's a tragedy
Over the past six months, the #MeToo movement has revealed the predatory behavior of countless men. And some, like Harvey Weinstein, who was kicked out of the Academy, have faced consequences for their actions. But despite the progress being made, few accused abusers have actually been convicted of their crimes. For instance, director James Toback is just one of many to be spared charges in the fallout of #MeToo.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office announced today, April 10th, that Toback would not be charged with sexual misconduct. The D.A. had been investigating five cases of sexual misconduct involving the director from 1978 to 2008, but all of the cases fell outside the statute of limitations, which is one year for sexual battery cases. For this reason, they could not be prosecuted.
In an October Los Angeles Times report, 38 women accused Toback of sexually harassing them. Since the Times article was published, hundreds more have come forward. Among Toback’s most prominent accusers are Rachel McAdams, Selma Blair, and Julianne Moore.
Blair told Vanity Fair that Toback had invited her to his hotel room when she was auditioning for his 2001 movie Harvard Man. There, Blair said Toback made her perform the audition naked, and when she finished, he humped her leg until he ejaculated in his pants. Blair also told the magazine that Toback had threatened her with death if she ever spoke out against him. Toback has aggressively denied the allegations.
Toback is known for writing and directing films like Two Girls and a Guy and The Pick-up Artist and received an Oscar nomination for writing 1991’s Bugsy. Toback’s most recent movie, The Private Life of a Modern Woman, starring Alec Baldwin and Sienna Miller, debuted at the 2017 Venice Film Festival shortly before the allegations surfaced. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the 73-year-old is worth $10 million.
The fact that Toback will not face charges when hundreds of women have accused him of sexual misconduct is devastating. But more than that, the lack of justice for Toback’s accusers demonstrates the stigma victims of sexual harassment and assault face. This stigma can keep victims from coming forward, and in cases where the statute of limitations is only a year, this could mean they never get the justice they deserve. Toback’s case is a reminder that when someone says they’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted, we need to listen.