38 women accuse director James Toback in new lawsuit of prowling the streets of NYC to lure and sexually abuse, assault, or batter them

james toback
James Toback.Thomson Reuters
  • James Toback "prowled" NYC to lure women using his status in the industry, a new lawsuit claims.

  • The claims of sexual abuse span at least four decades and include more than three dozen women.

  • The suit also names Harvard Club, claiming the director used the facility to attack some women.

More than three dozen women filed a bombshell lawsuit on Monday against director James Toback, who made his directorial debut in 1978 with "Fingers," accusing the filmmaker of using his influence in the entertainment industry to lure and sexually abuse, assault, or batter them throughout the span of four decades.

The lawsuit, which was filed with a New York state court, comes five years after the majority of the women first made the allegations public through interviews with The Los Angeles Times, during the burst of the #MeToo movement when accusations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein also came out.

An attorney for Toback did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. Toback, 78, denied the allegations at the time to the LA Times. He also previously told Rolling Stone that anyone who accused him of sexual harassment was a "lying cocksucker or c---t or both."

According to the claims, Toback, who was nominated for an Academy Award in 1991 for the film "Bugsy," used a repeated ploy to target potentially hundreds of victims.

"Defendant Toback targetted young women using the same ruse over and over again with hundreds of victims, often using the same lines, enablers, and locations where he was able to perpetrate his abuse upon unsuspecting young women, including Plaintiffs, for decades," the lawsuit claims.

Bradley Beckworth, an attorney for the women, told Insider that he's aware of more women who are not involved in the suit.

"I think that as people read this and learn more about what happened, our hope is that women will find out that they weren't alone," he said. "When when abuse like this happens, it can be very isolating, depressing, scary, and a lot of things go with that."

The lawsuit alleged that part of his routine included prowling the streets of Manhattan to approach "unsuspecting young women" under the guise of potential movie roles.

The complaint also names the Harvard Club of New York City as a defendant. According to the court documents, Toback used his membership to lure the women, brought them to the club's facility where he would treat them to meals and drinks, and attacked them in the club's "dining room, stairwells, bathrooms, and hotel rooms."

The lawsuit is accusing the club of "gross negligence and other unlawful conduct" that allowed Toback to maintain his membership and use its facility.

Irene Reidy, the club's head of communications, told Insider that Toback's membership was terminated in 2017.

"Beyond that, the Harvard Club does not comment on pending litigation," she said.

Read the original article on Insider