Rachel McAdams claims she was sexually harassed by James Toback

Rachel McAdams
Rachel McAdams arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Doctor Strange' on Oct. 20, 2016 in Hollywood, Calif. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

NOTE: This article contains sexually explicit language and disturbing content. Read at your own discretion.

Canadian actor Rachel McAdams has come forward with details about her alleged encounter with screenwriter James Toback.

McAdams, along with fellow actor Selma Blair, spoke to Vanity Fair about sexual harassment they claim happened at the hands of Toback. At last count, approximately 200 women have accused him of sexual harassment or assault.

Following allegations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein, 38 women described their interactions with Toback to the Los Angeles Times, detailing how he allegedly sexually harassed and/or assaulted employees, potential employees and women he met on the street.

READ MORE: The women who’ve accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault

McAdams, 38, first encountered Toback when she was a mere 21 years old and still attending theatre school in Toronto. Up-and-coming actors, especially young ones, are especially susceptible to suggestion, and being newbies to the game, are unaware of the ropes and rules. McAdams considered herself one of those people trying to make sense of her surroundings while learning how to be a great actor.

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She claims Toback “used language” encouraging her to “take risks.”

“[Toback] used the same language during my audition — that you have to take risks and sometimes you’re going to be uncomfortable and sometimes it’s going to feel dangerous,” said McAdams. “And that’s a good thing — when there is danger in the air and you feel like you are out of your comfort zone.”

“I did not want to talk about this ever again,” she continued. “However, even though it is a really bad memory, I feel like some good could come from talking about it now.”

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Toback, now 72, said he had no comment on these specific allegations, and previously said about the 38 initial accusations that he never met any of those women, and if he did, it was very brief. He also alluded to diabetes and a heart problem, saying it was “biologically impossible” for him to do what the accusers said he did.

McAdams story, like many of Weinstein’s accusers, has similarities to the others.

She was invited to audition for a role in Toback’s 2001 movie Harvard Man, and she claims he insisted that she come to his hotel room, even though she didn’t want to.

“So I went over to the hotel, went to the room, and he had all of these books and magazines splayed out on the floor,” she told Vanity Fair. “He invited me to sit on the floor which was a bit awkward. Pretty quickly the conversation turned quite sexual and he said, ‘You know, I just have to tell you. I have masturbated countless times today thinking about you since we met at your audition.'”

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READ MORE: Norwegian actress Natassia Malthe accuses Harvey Weinstein of rape

According to McAdams, he then started using “manipulative” talk; she hypothesizes that this was his method to get naive young women to submit to his whims. He allegedly asked her questions like, “How brave are you?” and “How far are you willing to go?”

“I kept thinking, ‘When are we getting to the rehearsal part?'” she continued. “Then he went to the bathroom and left me with some literature to read about him. When he came back he said, ‘I just jerked off in the bathroom thinking about you. Will you show me your pubic hair?’ I said no.”

Eventually, McAdams excused herself and left, she says, before any assault or physical activity took place. She claims she told her agent, who then said to her that this wasn’t a new accusation, that Toback had been known to do this sort of thing before.

Blair, 45, has a similar account of Toback, except her experience allegedly got physical — she claims he pressured her to take her shirt off and then proceeded to masturbate against her body while forcing her to look into his eyes.

READ MORE: Harvey Weinstein’s ex-assistant breaks confidentiality agreement, reveals behind the curtain

Both women revealed their alleged experiences with Vanity Fair in order to get the word out, and hopefully put an end to the “casting couch” culture in Hollywood.

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“This has all got to stop,” said McAdams. “We need to start acknowledging what an epidemic this is, and what a deep-seated problem this is. You have to get it all out in the open and in the light so that we can really understand how pervasive this is. I think we almost have to exhaust ourselves sharing our experiences before the rebuilding can begin.”

Toback’s counterpart, Weinstein, is currently under criminal investigation in Los Angeles, New York City and London.

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.

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