Robert De Niro’s production company was found liable by a court Thursday for gender discrimination and ordered to pay $1.2 million to the Hollywood star’s former assistant Graham Chase Robinson.
It was after nearly five hours of deliberations Thursday that jurors found the 80-year-old actor not personally responsible. However, his company, Canal Productions, was found guilty of gender discrimination and retaliation against 41-year-old Graham Chase Robinson, according to the Associated Press and Deadline reports People.
We’re glad the jury saw what we saw and returned a verdict in favor of Graham Chase Robinson and against Robert De Niro’s company
The court ordered Canal Productions to pay $1.26 million in damages to Graham Chase Robinson.
Robert De Niro arriving at court in New York
“We are pleased that the jury saw what we saw and returned a verdict in favor of Graham Chase Robinson and against Robert De Niro’s company, Canal Productions,” noted David Sanford, a member of Graham Chase Robinson’s legal team.
“Ms. Graham Chase Robinson not only won the case against Canal Productions, but they completely vindicated her by ruling that Robert De Niro’s allegations against her were without merit,” he continued.
Actor Robert De Niro’s representative did not make any statement.
In earlier testimony during the two-week trial, Robert De Niro had called Graham Chase Robinson’s claims nonsense.
Robert De Niro and Canal Productions had sued Graham Chase Robinson in 2019 for alleged improper expenses during her 11 years of employment with the company.
Graham Chase Robinson in turn sued Robert De Niro and Canal Productions for alleged violations of human rights law.
Robert De Niro and Graham Chase Robinson testified at the trial, as well as the famous actor’s partner Tiffany Chen.
Some text messages shared by the Goodfellas actor and Tiffany Chen, who have been dating since 2018 and welcomed daughter Gia Virginia last spring, also surfaced as evidence.
Canal Productions general counsel Tom Harvey, Robert De Niro’s accountant Michael Tasch, and a number of employees who worked with Graham Chase Robinson at Canal Productions between 2008 and 2019 also testified during the trial.
The trial, according to People, began with Robert De Niro’s testimony on Oct. 30 and 31, when he admitted to abusing his assistant during her employment at the company.
“Yeah, fine, I cursed at her,” he testified, responding to related questions about the time Robinson didn’t wake him up in time for a meeting. He then agreed that he might have called her a “hot-tempered, touchy-feely and spoiled rich kid”.
The Oscar-winning actor also claimed that Chase Graham Robinson stole 5 million air miles from him during her employment with the company, which he said were never returned.
Tiffany Chen took the stand on Nov. 2 and spoke about her time knowing Robinson during the last months of her employment with Canal Productions in 2018 and 2019.
Intimacy with Robert De Niro
Some messages presented during the trial showed that Tiffany Chen believed Robinson had a “fantasy intimacy” with Robert De Niro, something she agreed to in court years later.
Speaking about Robinson’s behavior when Robert De Niro wasn’t around, Tiffany Chen said it was a “complete reversal”. “When he’s not in the room, [είναι] a situation like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. When Bob isn’t there, he has another face.”
“Tiffany may have said things because she was upset, but she was upset because Robinson didn’t respect her. Full stop” said Robert De Niro during his testimony.
Robinson testified on November 3 and 4, describing her work for Robert De Niro. “Sometimes I would email him and he couldn’t find it and he would call yelling and screaming that ‘I didn’t get it’ when he did.
“When he was frustrated, when he couldn’t find his assistant. There are several different reasons why he was angry,” he noted among other features.
In his closing argument, Robinson’s attorney said Robert De Niro and Tiffany Chen’s actions toward Robinson showed she was being discriminated against because of her gender.
“Would he call her a bitch? Would he ask her to scratch his back? Would Tiffany Chen be jealous? Would any of this happen if he were a man? Of course not. She was retaliated against for engaging in protected activity,” he continued.