Director James Tolback faces sexual assault allegations

Photo courtesy of | The Hollywood director has come under fire for allegedly using his position of power to sexually abuse more than 30 female actresses. 

Women in Hollywood are accusing director James Tolback of sexual assault in a story that came to light in a Los Angeles Times on Sunday. More than 30 women came forward to tell their story, and the article reported that according to the women, “In a hotel room, a movie trailer, a public park, meetings framed as interviews or auditions quickly turned sexual.”

Tolback has denied all claims against him. He has denied ever meeting any of the women— or if he did meet them, it “was for five minutes and (he had) no recollection.” He claimed that for the last 22 years, it was “biologically impossible” for him to take part in the behavior the women described in the article, saying he had diabetes and a heart condition requiring medication, the Los Angeles Times reported. He has declined to elaborate on those claims.

As a Xavier Theatre major and someone who has been following the recent scandals, Cassie Delicath said, “As somebody who is in theater, I think it is really important for theater to have a message and speak out against injustices in the world.” Delicath believes that a stronger internal light should be shown on these issues. “I think one of the biggest things that (the scandal) tells me is that we need to do more productions that speak out against sexual assaults or gender-based violence or discrimination based on gender.”

The Tolback claims come right on the tails of the accusations made against the former critically-acclaimed Hollywood director, Harvey Weinstein. More than 40 women have spoken out against Weinstein since a New York Times story earlier this month and the number continues to rise. The director has also denied all accusations of sexual assault but is still facing unprecedented consequences. As well as ostracization from the community that once held him in high regard, Weinstein has been stripped of many of his accolades and his film studio is facing possible legal repercussions.

The allegations also have effects that reach far past Hollywood.

Delicath said “It makes me nervous being a female in a field where women are taken advantage of. I think it motivates me to be stronger and more spoken out and stand up for things, so women who don’t necessarily have a voice like I do right now at Xavier, it makes it more important for me to speak up about things I think are important.”

The news of Weinstein’s misconduct sparked outrage across the country, and a hashtag was launched in solidarity of the victims. Women and men who have experience sexual assault shared their stories on social media with #metoo. The amount of stories shared online shed light on the sheer volume of the problem and has helped opened an honest dialogue. Celebrities, including Gabrielle Union and Terry Crews, sharing their stories helped break down negative stigmas surrounding sexual assault and encouraged more people to share their story.

By: Riley Head ~A&E Editor~