Top 10 Director/Producer Sex Scandals



Top 10 Director/Producer Sex Scandals

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Michael Wynands

Has a day of reckoning finally come in Hollywood? From James Toback, to Lars Von Trier, to Woody Allen, these are the most shocking sex scandals in show business. WatchMojo counts down ten director/producer sex scandals.

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Script written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 Director/Producer Sex Scandals

Has a day of reckoning finally arrived in Hollywood? Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for Top 10 Director/Producer Sex Scandals.
For this list, we’re looking at cases where film producers, directors, executives and other members of the Hollywood elite were accused of sexual harassment, assault or misconduct in a public way, which, regardless of any verdict, resulted in scandal.

#10: James Toback

Though you may not know this screenwriter and director by name, cinephiles will surely be familiar with his work, which includes the screenplay for the critically acclaimed 1991 film “Bugsy,” his 2008 documentary about Mike Tyson, and his earlier screenwriter credits like “The Gambler” and “Fingers”. According to the Los Angeles Times, however, there are 38 women out there who have accused Toback as the man who either sexually harassed or assaulted them. As reported in news stories dating back as far as 1989, Toback would use his position in the film industry as an excuse to set up meetings with women, and then proceed to make sexual advances. Of course, Toback fully denies all the claims.

#9: Bernardo Bertolucci

This influential Italian filmmaker earned critical acclaim with films like “1900” and “The Last Emperor”. Before that however, he was infamous for his highly divisive film “Last Tango in Paris,” starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider. The film was notable for its graphic sexual content, including one notorious rape scene involving. . . butter. Though all parties insist that the scene was scripted and the sex simulated, the use of butter was not. Bertolucci reportedly kept this from Schneider until shortly before shooting to get a better on-camera reaction. When the film was released, he faced criminal charges in Italy for obscenity, but it would be years before he was publicly taken to task for his treatment of the actress.

#8: Victor Salva

They say that one bad movie can end a career in Hollywood, but apparently you can be convicted of sexual molestation, and possession of child porn, and still bounce back. Victor Salva was a director on the rise in the mid-1980s, first putting out an award-winning short film, and then following it up with feature length film, “Clownhouse,” produced by the legendary Francis Ford Coppola. While filming, however, Salva not only sexually abused one of his stars, a twelve a year old boy, but videotaped it. After just 15 months in prison, he was released and would go on to make a number of studio films, including a film distributed by Disney, and the “Jeepers Creepers” franchise.

#7: Lars Von Trier

This one-of-a-kind Danish director has a bad reputation for mistreating his female stars. As he once said in an interview with the BBC, when questioned about allegations of misogyny: “Yeah, they submit… I don't think I've misused anybody, but I could, of course. And I could be tempted to. But I don't think I have." According to comments made by Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk, however, he has crossed the line. Björk didn’t name Von Trier specifically, but considering her very limited filmography, when she claimed to have been sexually harassed by a “Danish filmmaker,” it wasn’t hard to figure out who she meant. Von Trier, for his part, has denied the allegations.

#6: Casey Affleck

Here’s another celebrity who has experienced success, even in the face of scandal. Casey, the younger brother of Ben, is similarly known for his work both behind the camera and in front of it. At the 2016 Academy Awards, he took home the coveted Best Actor award for his role in “Manchester by the Sea”. Both before and after the ceremony, he addressed sexual harassment allegations that had followed him since 2010, when he was taken to court over his alleged mistreatment of producer Amanda White and cinematographer Magdalena Gorka during the filming of “I’m Still Here”. The lawsuits were settled out of court, but the allegations continue to follow him.

#5: Woody Allen

Over the course of his long career, this polymath has given us many critically-acclaimed films, including “Annie Hall,”“Midnight in Paris” and “Blue Jasmine”. He’s long been known for his love of women, both in his personal life and in the care with which he carefully chooses his leading ladies. But it’s his fixation on younger women, or rather… young girls that has made him notorious. In 1992, he was accused of molesting his adoptive daughter, Dylan Farrow, but was never formally charged. To this day, Dylan continues to stand by her accusations, while Allen continues to deny them. He went on to marry another Farrow’s adoptive children Soon-Yi Previn.

#4: Bryan Singer

This director put the X-Men on the cinematic map when he directed the first two films in this decades-long franchise. He’s also been embroiled in various scandals centering on accusations of sexually harassing and assaulting minors. In 1997, Singer was accused of asking a young male extra to film a nude scene, but the case was dismissed. Then, in 2014, while promoting his return to the X-Men franchise with “Days of Future Past,” Singer was hit with two separate lawsuits, one by actor/model Michael Egan, who claimed to have been raped as child in the 1990s, and another by a British man claiming to have had sexual contact with Singer as a minor. In both cases, the lawsuits were dismissed or withdrawn.

#3: Bill Cosby

For years, this comedian and producer was beloved by fans young and old for his accessible brand of feel-good humor. But industry insiders knew there was something sinister going on behind the scenes. “30 Rock” made allusions to Cosby’s alleged abuse back in 2009, years before the long-simmering scandal finally erupted. In fact, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler had been going after Cosby since 2005 on “SNL”. When the evidence was all finally laid out for everyone to see, it painted a shocking picture: 59 accusations of assault or attempted assault ranging from 1965 to 2008. As of 2017, statutes of limitation prevent legal action for many cases, while those that have been tried have so far ended in mistrial.

#2: Roman Polanski

Another iconic director, another shocking set of allegations involving the sexual assault of minors. Adding extra drama to the scandal, the “Rosemary’s Baby” director actually fled the country rather than face sentencing: a possible term of 50 years in prison. This was in 1977; after being accused of drugging and raping a 13-year-old, Polanski absconded to France, and never returned to the U.S. He has continued to work overseas, producing films like “The Pianist,” despite the fact that allegations continue to crop up. In 2017, a woman came forward claiming that Polanski had assaulted her in 1975, when she was just 10 years old. Three other accusations have been reported over the years.

#1: Harvey Weinstein

We’ve discussed some major scandals that have spanned decades, but this story dominating the news might be the case that finally changes the way the film industry handles sexual harassment and assault. The old trope of male film producers using their power and influence to solicit sexual favors from young actresses is well-known. With the overdue takedown of mega-heavyweight Harvey Weinstein, however, a very public conversation is finally happening about this abuse. Within the industry, Weinstein’s behavior was certainly no secret, and it finally went public in the form of 60+ accusations of sexual misconduct, harassment and rape. He has since been removed from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.