James Gunn, the director behind the blockbuster franchise Guardians of the Galaxy, says that he's been warning people "for years" about Oscar-nominated writer and director James Toback, who has been accused by 38 women of sexual harassment.

According to an exposé published by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, Toback spent decades "prowl[ing] the streets of Manhattan looking for attractive young women, usually in their early 20s, sometimes college students, on occasion a high schooler." The Times reports that Toback allegedly used a series of come-on lines in which he introduced himself as a film director, cited his most successful films (Black and White and Two Girls and a Guy), and name-dropped in an attempt to lure women into a sexual encounter in "meetings framed as interviews or auditions."

After the article was published, Gunn penned a lengthy post on Facebook detailing how he had become aware of Toback's alleged predatory behavior and how he had tried to warn people about him for over 20 years.

"When I lived in New York, in the 'nineties, this dude was EVERYWHERE," writes Gunn. "I have personally met at least FIFTEEN WOMEN, probably more, who say that he's accosted them in NYC. He essentially goes up to women and says, 'Hey, I'm James Toback, and I'm a famous director, and I feel like there's a connection between us.' Then he shows them some article on himself or some other artifact to prove he is who he is, and tries to get them to go somewhere else with him."

Gunn writes that Toback had "done this to three girls I’ve dated, two of my very best friends, and a family member... twice."

Gunn underscores that he's spoken out about Toback because what he's done goes beyond just the average Hollywood "douchebaggery": he was not just trying to use his status to come on to women, Gunn stresses:

And, honestly, if the stories were just about some crazed sex addict who approaches thousands of women on the street trying to get laid, I wouldn't be posting this now. I don't want to be attacking every Hollywood douchebag who hits on countless women. That type of behavior isn’t cool, but I think it’s important to separate douchebaggery from any kind of sexual coercion. But the women I talked to who DID go someplace private with Toback, told stories that were worse than the women only accosted on the street.

As for the actions he took to stop Toback, Gunn explains that he's been warning people about him "for over twenty years now," bringing him up "every chance" he could in group settings. "I have publicly written Facebook posts about Toback and what he was doing, as well as mentioning him on my web site and on MySpace," he adds.

Gunn notes that he put himself "in legal jeopardy doing so" and admits that he's "not sure I would do the same today."

"If I actually SAW something, it would be a different story," he explains. "But simply sharing secondhand stories is legally complicated, and could open me to being sued. It is necessary that firsthand accounts come out to get these stories noticed, whether it's from the victim or someone else who witnesses what's occurring."

Here's Gunn's complete Facebook post on Toback:

When I lived in New York, in the 'nineties, this dude was EVERYWHERE. I have personally met at least FIFTEEN WOMEN, probably more, who say that he's accosted them in NYC. He essentially goes up to women and says, "Hey, I'm James Toback, and I'm a famous director, and I feel like there's a connection between us." Then he shows them some article on himself or some other artifact to prove he is who he is, and tries to get them to go somewhere else with him.

He has done this to three girls I’ve dated, two of my very best friends, and a family member... twice. Yes, he came up to her twice with the same stupid line, not realizing she was the same person. This is in addition to many other women I've talked to at parties or dinners about their interactions with Toback.

AND THAT'S JUST PEOPLE I KNOW. It’s not even mentioning the many other accounts going all the way back to an article that came out in SPY magazine in 1989 detailing this behavior, and I’m not including all the people I’ve talked to online who’ve had experiences. I mean, statistically, it would seem his numbers would have to be at least in the thousands.

Most of these women were in their early twenties. Most of them refused to go any further with him, but a few went to dinner, or to some sort of casting situation, or to someplace private.

And, honestly, if the stories were just about some crazed sex addict who approaches thousands of women on the street trying to get laid, I wouldn't be posting this now. I don't want to be attacking every Hollywood douchebag who hits on countless women. That type of behavior isn’t cool, but I think it’s important to separate douchebaggery from any kind of sexual coercion. But the women I talked to who DID go someplace private with Toback, told stories that were worse than the women only accosted on the street.

It’s important to say, I don’t have any firsthand information about any of this. But the stories are so eerily similar, and I’ve heard them again and again from some of the people I trust most in the world, I know the chances of them being untrue… well, it would just be impossible. I knew it was their choice whether or not they wanted to come forward publicly, but I let them know I would have their backs if they did.

So I did what I could do in my impotent state – for over twenty years now, I’ve been bringing up James Toback every chance I could in groups of people. I couldn’t stop him, but I could warn people about him.

Recently, I thought the guy had disappeared into obscurity and old age, but then I saw an article in the Huffington Post about him, entitled, "James Toback Gets Us, He Truly Gets Us." I almost vomited. Did the person who wrote the article even do a basic Google search on Toback? It seemed like he was more current than I had thought, with a movie at the Venice Film Festival starring Sienna Miller. I had hoped his exploits had become well known enough that producers wouldn’t finance his films and actors wouldn't work with him.

So since then I’ve been hoping the Weinstein/O'Reilly stuff would bring this vampire into the light (him and a couple others, frankly). So I was happy today to wake up to this story in the LA Times.

I told the women who would come forward I had their back. This is me doing my best to fulfill that promise.

Love to you all.

Addendum to the first post:

A few people on here, Twitter, and other sites are saying, "James, why didn't you say anything if you knew this was happening?"

A) Like I said above, I did say something, many times, to many people, all over the world.

B) More importantly, I have publicly written Facebook posts about Toback and what he was doing, as well as mentioning him on my web site and on MySpace. I don't know why suddenly people are just assuming I didn't just because I don't mention it here.

C) That said, I put myself in legal jeopardy doing so, and I'm not sure I would do the same today. If I actually SAW something, it would be a different story. But simply sharing secondhand stories is legally complicated, and could open me to being sued. It is necessary that firsthand accounts come out to get these stories noticed, whether it's from the victim or someone else who witnesses what's occurring.

H/T John Sexton