Actor Robert De Niro has dismissed claims that he was abusive towards his former personal assistant.
The 80-year-old actor, who has recently appeared in Martin Scorcese’s Killers Of The Flower Moon is facing allegations that between 2008 and 2019 he subjected his then assistant to unusual daily tasks and name-calling.
Graham Chase Robinson previously worked as the two time Oscar winning actor’s Vice President of Production and Finance. But according to The Standard, she claims she was made to carry out demeaning tasks including “to scratch the actor’s back, button his shirts and prod him awake when he was sleeping.”
As such, Robinson is suing De Niro for $12 million (£9.8 million) claiming to have suffered reputational harm and severe emotional distress. She also claims that upon quitting her job after a number of clashes with the actor’s girlfriend, Tiffany Chen, her employer refused to write her a reference, which her lawyer told the court had made it difficult for Robinson to find future work.
Graham Chase Robinson departs federal court on October 30, 2023 in New York City. CREDIT: Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
Appearing in a New York City trial this week, De Niro dismissed the claims entirely, at one point describing them as “all nonsense.”
He defended the 2017 incident of calling on Robinson after 4am to take him to the hospital saying: “That was one time when I cracked my back falling down the stairs.” He included in his evidence that he had listed Robinson as an emergency contact, and defended his treatment of her saying, “It is not like I’m asking for her to go out there and scrape floors and mop the floor,” having also reportedly paid her $300,000 a year for her work.
According to The Independent, De Niro’s attorney, Richard Schoenstein described Robinson as “condescending, demeaning, controlling, abusive” and his legal team argued in return to her claims that that Robinson had at the time misused her access to his money over her period of employment, reportedly paying for extravagant holidays, buying designer accessories and treating herself to expensive meals.
De Niro’s company, Canal Productions, is countersuing Robinson following the lawsuit.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, Robinson’s team alleges that the lawsuit filed against her came in retaliation after Robinson resigned from her job and her lawyers informed De Niro that she was considering bringing a lawsuit against him.
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