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Read the 1989 Spy magazine story that detailed James Toback's attempts to pick up women

James Toback at the Venice Film Festival in September. (Dave Bedrosian / Future-Image)
James Toback at the Venice Film Festival in September. (Dave Bedrosian / Future-Image)

After The Times published an investigation of writer-director James Toback's decades of alleged sexual misconduct on Sunday, some readers were reminded that accusations had been percolating for years.

A story in the March 1989 issue of the defunct magazine Spy, titled "The Pickup Artist's Guide to Picking Up Women: A Case-by-Case Look at Movie Director James Toback's Street Technique," compiled testimonies from 13 of Toback's alleged victims, including the story's author, Vincenza Demetz.

According to Demetz, the director went to great lengths to impress the women he sought to pick up. Toback flaunted his membership in the Directors Guild of America and the Harvard Club of New York, boasted about being pictured in a book of Helmut Newton photographs and even offered roles in his upcoming films.

"Out in the field, Toback can frequently be spotted casting future major motion pictures in the Fairway Market at Broadway and 74th Street, whiling away entire afternoons importuning females as they shop for fresh fruits and cheeses," Demetz wrote.

Though Toback initially cooperated for the story, Demetz noted that he soon grew agitated: "If you print this piece, I promise it will be the single thing you regret most in your life."

Read the full Spy article here. (It begins on page 86.)


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