Robert De Niro’s Production Company Found Liable for Gender Discrimination
For the past few years, Robert De Niro and Graham Chase Robinson have been locked in a legal dispute after the actor claimed in a 2019 lawsuit that his former assistant had misused company funds for her own purposes. Robinson quickly responded with a lawsuit alleging that her boss had harassed and discriminated against her on the basis of gender.
The matter came to a head in a Manhattan federal court over the past two weeks, with each party testifying about the other’s work habits and temperament. The civil trial addressed both lawsuits. On Thursday, according to The New York Times, a jury found neither De Niro nor Robinson personally liable for the other’s claims, but ruled that Canal Productions, the actor’s company, was liable for gender discrimination and retaliation. Robinson was awarded $1.26 million. “Not only did Ms. Robinson win her case against Canal,” David Sanford, a lawyer for Robinson, said in a statement, “but the jury completely vindicated Ms. Robinson by finding De Niro’s claims against her to be without merit.”
During the trial, Robinson testified that De Niro had given her “stereotypically female” work around his house. She also said that a dispute between her and De Niro’s girlfriend, Tiffany Chen, ultimately led to her resignation from Canal Productions. One of De Niro’s lawyers, Richard C. Schoenstein, said outside the courtroom that “Mr. De Niro has been exonerated” in light of the jury not finding him personally at fault.
“I’ve been so humiliated and embarrassed, and I feel so judged,” Robinson testified. “I feel just so damaged, in a way.”
De Niro made headlines during the trial for his irritated testimony. “You got me!” he exploded at one point, after acknowledging that he had asked Robinson to scratch his back on two occasions when he couldn’t reach an itch. “It was never done with any disrespect.”
Robinson understood the interactions differently, describing the interactions during her testimony as “creepy” and “disgusting.”
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