In a Manhattan federal courtroom on October 31, Robert De Niro appeared as a witness to defend himself against a gender discrimination lawsuit brought against him by former employee Graham Chase Robinson.
The trial has captured the media’s attention, focusing on Robinson’s claims of demeaning behavior and misallocation of job duties by the renowned actor and his company, Canal Productions.
Robinson’s tenure with De Niro evolved from an executive assistant to the vice president of Canal Productions. It was during this time that she filed a lawsuit accusing De Niro of treating her as an “office wife,” which included tasks like washing his sheets, far removed from her professional responsibilities.
During his time on the stand, De Niro, 80, admitted to rebuking Robinson for not alerting him about an important meeting and acknowledged that he might have used harsh language, including “petulant,” “snippy,” and “f——g spoiled brat” when describing her. The atmosphere in the courtroom became charged when De Niro, questioned about allegedly urinating audibly while on the phone with Robinson, denounced her with an impassioned, “Shame on you, Chase Robinson!”
The case against De Niro includes more grave accusations of gender discrimination and harassment, with Robinson alleging that she was paid less than her male counterparts and that she endured years of gender discrimination.
Canal Productions filed a countersuit claiming Robinson had misappropriated company resources, namely over $450,000 in airline miles.
Robinson, who had a $300,000 annual salary as vice president of production and finance, resigned citing destructive behavior towards her. De Niro has dismissed the lawsuit as “nonsense” and “absurd” and has also denied claims that he asked Robinson to scratch his back or contacting her inappropriately during a family member’s funeral.
The trial, starting in Manhattan federal court, concludes a four-year legal conflict and has drawn public and media scrutiny due to the gravity of the accusations and the high-profile nature of the disputants.
As the court proceedings advance, the testimonies of De Niro and Robinson are anticipated to be pivotal in resolving the dispute. Further details and evidence from both sides will emerge as they continue to present their cases.