Robert De Niro slams former assistant as trial descends into chaos

Robert De Niro yells at his former personal assistant as he ADMITS asking her to scratch his back – but only twice – and calling her a ‘f***ing spoiled brat’ as $12m abusive boss trial descends into chaos

  • De Niro is facing allegations of gender discrimination by a former staffer 
  • His former assistant Graham Chase Robinson is being sued in the same trial
  • The actor alleges that Robinson improperly spend funds while working for him 

Robert De Niro admitted in a Manhattan court that he ordered his former assistant to scratch his back, angrily declaring: ‘You got me!’ 

The actor, 80, is facing accusations he discriminated against his former assistant Graham Chase Robinson, 41, in a four-year legal battle that went to trial on Monday. 

His former staffer Robinson has accused the actor of gender discrimination while working for his company, Canal Productions. De Niro’s company initially sued Robinson alleging improper spending of the company’s accounts.  

On the second day of the trial on Tuesday, De Niro became flustered and irate as he took to the stand to combat allegations he subjected Robinson to years of abusive language, unwanted physical advances and misogyny. 

In a startling moment while on the stand, the Oscar-winning actor confronted his accuser and said before a stunned courtroom: ‘Shame on you, Chase Robinson!’ 

Actor Robert De Niro, 80, departs federal court on the second day of his trial on October 31, 2023 in New York City

The actor’s former assistant Graham Chase Robinson (pictured leaving court on Monday) alleges she was discriminated against by De Niro

The 80-year-old has countered that Robinson improperly spend funds while working for him

Robinson began working for De Niro in 2008 as his assistant, and eventually rose to the position of vice-president of Canal Productions. 

She alleges in her lawsuit that De Niro treated her like an ‘office wife’, and made her perform menial tasks including washing his sheets and scratching his back. Robinson also alleges that she was paid less than a male employee who had the same role and responsibilities. 

Her $12 million lawsuit was quickly launched following an initial lawsuit by De Niro’s Canal Productions in August 2019, accusing her of improper spending including transferring over $450,000 worth of airline miles from the company to her own personal account. 

She is also accused of spending tens of thousands more on personal items, food and travel and spending her days binge watching Netflix. 

Both lawsuits are set to be decided in the same trial. 

On Tuesday, De Niro faced questioning over his alleged mistreatment of Robinson, specifically an incident where he allegedly ordered Robinson to scratch his back instead of using a back scratcher. 

The star grew visibly frustrated as he batted off questions, until he confessed that the back-scratching occurred on two occasions. 

‘Okay, twice? You got me! I’m saying this is nonsense,’ he said on the stand. ‘It was never done with any disrespect.’ 

In a startling moment, De Niro then confronted his former employee, bellowing to the court: ‘Shame on you, Chase Robinson!’ 

De Niro, seen in a courtroom sketch, stunned the courtroom on Tuesday as he confronted his accuser and told her ‘shame on you’ 

De Niro participated in over five hours of testimony heard on Tuesday, in a four-year legal battle that finally reached a Manhattan court on Monday 

De Niro participated in over five hours of testimony heard by the court Tuesday, which offered a more detailed glimpse at the allegations against the 80-year-old. 

As well as admitting to the back-scratching allegations, De Niro also acknowledged he has instructed Robinson to use Uber to order him a martini from the Nobu sushi lounge late at night. 

Robinson claimed that he called her twice to interrupt her grandmother’s funeral so she could buy his teenage son a bus ticket. When questioned about the incident, he replied: ‘So?’ 

De Niro also defended branding Robinson a ‘f***ing spoiled brat’, saying he was ‘upset’ after she didn’t wake him up for an appointment. 

‘I could have too, I was upset,’ he said. ‘She didn’t wake me up and made me miss this thing in Malibu.’ 

The second day of the trial was marked by tense back-and-forth’s from both sides, however there was a moment De Niro appeared to quip with his lawyer. 

His attorney took objection to the questioning of his client and argued it was ‘improper impeachment’, to which De Niro replied: ‘Impeachment? Am I being impeached?’ 

‘Had to say it, sorry,’ he added as the courtroom broke out into laughter.  

De Niro is currently starring in Martin Scorsese’s latest hit Killers Of The Flower Moon, pictured with co-star Leonardo DiCaprio 

When Robinson first filed her lawsuit four years ago, her attorney argued on Tuesday that she did so after first trying to quit her role in November 2018 but was prevented by De Niro after he warned he would give her a bad job reference. 

Asked about the allegations, De Niro brushed them off and replied: ‘You’re saying I threatened her? I don’t do that. She worked for me, I treated her with respect.’ 

He then alleged that while he may not brand her ‘disloyal’, he ‘wanted to get her because she stole stuff from me.’ 

He continued: ‘The whole case is nonsense, it’s ridiculous… I wanted my things back, that’s all I’m asking. Return my things, return my air miles. Enough is enough.

‘She had taken things from me and not done the right thing. I asked her to return them but she didn’t do the right thing. She asked me for a letter of recommendation, which under no circumstances would I ever, ever, ever sign.’ 

Robinson’s attorney argued that Canal Productions only filed their lawsuit first because the staffer had threatened legal action, and the company wanted to ’embarrass her’ in the public eye before she filed her own lawsuit.

‘I don’t care about the press,’ De Niro fired back, in one of the most hostile exchanges of the day’s proceedings. 

‘I cared about her giving my stuff back and doing the right thing,’ he added. ‘I didn’t want to ruin her. I have no control over the press. She’s more press-oriented than I am. She should have thought, ‘I’ll give the air miles back.’ Case closed, done.’ 

He said he told Robinson she had permission to take up to two million airmiles from the company account for emergencies, but assumed she would act under an ‘honor system’ not to abuse the privilege. 

De Niro said in his lawsuit that Robinson quit in April 2019 after ‘suspicions arose’ about his staffers’ ‘honesty, integrity, work ethic and motivation.’ He added on Tuesday that when he finally received her resignation, he was ‘relieved.’ 

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