Robert De Niro testified in court that he “raised his voice” at his former assistant Graham Chase Robinson during her employment
Robert De Niro returned to the witness stand to give more explosive testimony in the civil trial concerning his former assistant Graham Chase Robinson.
At the New York City federal courthouse on Tuesday, the 80-year-old actor raised his voice repeatedly while on the stand for the second day of a trial to resolve lawsuits between De Niro’s company Canal Productions and his ex-assistant.
Questioned by Robinson’s attorney Andrew Macurdy about whether, in the 11 years of her employment at the company, De Niro called her names, the Killers of the Flower Moon star admitted that he had.
“Yeah, fine, I berated her,” the Oscar winner testified in response to inquiries about a time Robinson didn’t wake him in time for an important meeting. He then agreed he might have called her “petulant,” “snippy” and a “f------g spoiled brat.”
“I’ve raised my voice,” stated De Niro. “I don’t yell. You wanna dispute that? That’s one thing I don’t do.”
In 2019 after Robinson had left her position at Canal Productions as Vice President for Production and Finance, the company filed a $6 million lawsuit against her. They alleged that she excessively binge-watched Netflix shows while working, charged personal meals and groceries to the company’s credit card and inappropriately used “her employer’s fund for her personal gain” including De Niro’s frequent flyer airline miles.
In her $12 million counter-lawsuit, Robinson alleged that De Niro and Canal Productions had violated the New York City Human Rights Law, claiming that the actor directed sexist comments at her, assigned her "stereotypically female job duties that were inconsistent with her job title," and paid her less than male employee Dan Harvey.
During his testimony, De Niro, who has employed Harvey as his personal trainer during movies dating back to 1991, addressed the latter point by asking, “What does Dan Harvey have to do with her?”
He continued, “God knows why she felt like she should make the same [salary]. Dan Harvey has been here for 40 years. He has been with me, left his family, never complained. She is jealous of him?”
Of the alleged gender-discriminating pay disparity, he added, “Give me a break with that nonsense… For her to use that is so ridiculous.”
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When asked about instances when, during her employment, De Niro allegedly asked Robinson to scratch his itching back, the Raging Bull actor exclaimed: “Every little thing she’s trying to get me on is nonsense! Shame on you, Chase Robinson.” He then apologized for the outburst.
The New York-set trial will continue to feature emails and text exchanges between De Niro and his girlfriend Tiffany Chen. The two welcomed a daughter together — Gia Virginia Chen De Niro, his seventh child — in May.
In earlier testimony, De Niro had asserted that Chen “might have been saying” disrespectful things about Robinson. “But she was annoyed because Robinson was disrespectful to her. Period. And that is unacceptable.”
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