(WatchDogReport.org) – Robert De Niro faced an intense day in a New York courtroom as he testified against the gender discrimination claims brought against him by Graham Chase Robinson, his former executive assistant. The trial, held in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, commenced on Monday, with De Niro taking the stand as the initial witness.
Robinson, who previously held the position of Vice President of Production and Finance at De Niro’s Canal Productions, claimed that De Niro exposed her to offensive, unsuitable, and gender-specific remarks, all the while paying her inadequately and overburdening her. She also claimed De Niro called her a “spoiled brat” in a voicemail laden with expletives when she failed to answer his call. Additionally, Robinson asserted that she was tasked with jobs typically associated with a specific gender, like repairing garments and handling laundry.
The trial also examined her retaliation claim involving De Niro’s girlfriend, Tiffany Chen, who Robinson alleges pushed her out of the job due to jealousy over her relationship with De Niro. In her initial complaint filed in July 2021, Robinson sought at least $12 million in damages.
The legal battle escalated after Canal Productions filed a $6 million lawsuit against Robinson in August 2019, accusing her of abusing company credit cards and watching excessive TV during work hours.
De Niro has denied Robinson’s claims, asserting that she misappropriated company funds. The jury also considered evidence related to De Niro’s lawsuit against Robinson, aiming to recover three years’ worth of her salary.
During his testimony, De Niro got defensive when confronted with allegations. He strongly refuted claims that he required Robinson to perform an array of tasks. He acknowledged calling her at 4:30 a.m. once but insisted it was a singular event. De Niro contested accusations that he disrespected Robinson and stated that her title change from assistant to vice president of finance and production was driven by her own request.
He admitted that there were no written rules for his employees, as he believed in common-sense guidelines. De Niro said he wanted Robinson to be happy and to “play nice” with Chen, whom she had conflicts with over rearranging paintings in his townhouse.
The trial is expected to continue until November 10.
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