Model Beth Stern is probably best known for animal rescue work with North Shore Animal League, and for being the wife of radio talk show host Howard Stern, but today her husband said she's part of a growing group – women who were harassed by director James Toback.
The host shared that his wife – after clearly stating she was okay with him sharing this story – had run into director James Toback at a grocery store in Manhattan late one night when she was in her early 20s.
As Stern tells it, "She told me about this years ago, when it came out, I was like isn't that the guy who...she told me about. He's a really gross guy, like [Bill] O'Reilly."
"He goes up to her and goes, I'm a director, I know Robert Downey Jr., I'm in the editing room with him, blah blah blah, you know," Stern recounted. "You're so beautiful, I'm doing a ballerina movie right now, and you would be perfect to be in the movie, I have a part for you. And she's this young woman, a model, had done some acting but wasn't interested in acting. But the guy was persistent, take my phone number and let's set up a meeting."
"Later, she calls the number, and it turned out it was his personal number, not a management company or casting agent. Toback then takes her number and says he'll have someone call her."
Stern continued the story, saying that later on, "She's asleep and at midnight the phone starts ringing like crazy. She picks up, and it's this guy [Toback], who says he's in the editing room and 'come now we want to talk about the movie.'"
"So Beth, not being a complete idiot – these guys try to prey on anyone, the poor women who fall for this stuff, they just want to be actresses so badly – she said to the guy it's midnight, you know, and he said 'get down here this is your chance.'"
Apparently after Beth told Toback no, he called her repeatedly all night long. Stern said her agent later reached out to Toback, and the contact stopped.
As of today, the number of women alleging that director James Toback sexually harassed them has grown to more than 60.
And, more than 30 women have spoken on the record to the Los Angeles Times, alleging that the director and screenwriter harassed them and left them feeling "violated." Toback, whose work includes Two Guys and a Girl, Harvard Man, Tyson, and The Private Life of a Modern Woman, denied the claims in a statement to the Times.
Another accuser, Louise Post of the band Veruca Salt, spoke to the Times about her experience with Toback, who she met in 1987. "He told me he'd love nothing more than to masturbate while looking into my eyes. Going to his apartment has been the source of shame for the past 30 years, that I allowed myself to be so gullible."
Toback, 72, denies the allegations.
If you have experienced sexual violence of any kind, please visit Rape Crisis or call 0808 802 9999.
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