(UPDATED WITH STATEMENT FROM ROBERT DE NIRO’S ATTORNEY) Less than two months after Robert De Niro and his Canal Productions took the Oscar winner’s former executive assistant to court for $6 million over allegedly embezzling company funds and doing a whole lot of nothing but Netflix on the job, Graham Chase Robinson has hit back at The Irishman star – hard and with a lot of BTS detail.
“Robert De Niro is someone who has clung to old mores,” says a jury-seeking lawsuit filed today in New York federal court in against the actor and his loan-out company.
“He does not accept the idea that men should treat women as equals,” adds the suit (read it here), which is seeking $12 million in damages for gender discrimination, harassment, back pay and labor law violations. “He does not care that gender discrimination in the workplace violates the law,” the 19-page filing notes, with a sideswipe of “as the allegations against Robert De Niro’s frequent professional collaborator Harvey Weinstein make clear, much work remains to be done before equality is reached.”
“Ms. Robinson is a casualty of this attitude.”
“The allegations made by Graham Chase Robinson against Robert De Niro are beyond absurd,” the actor’s lawyer Tom Harvey of NYC firm Harvey & Hackett said Thursday of the lawsuit and its claims of an emboldened “patriarchal sensibility” by him and at his company.
Robinson says she intended to file months ago before the Joker actor submitted his action, which she and her Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP attorneys call an “abusive, preemptive lawsuit” full of “false allegations designed to inhibit Ms. Robinson from pursuing her claims, destroy her reputation, and obliterate her job prospects.”
The new suit alleges that De Niro treated Robinson like an “office wife,” and that “De Niro subjected Ms. Robinson to gratuitous unwanted physical contact.” It attempts to lay out a fairly detailed set of situations to reinforce her claims. In a sense, as the professional relationship seemed to go steadily south, Robinson raised the specter of legal action over a working situation she characterized as “down right harassment.”
After she resigned from Canal in the spring, De Niro refused to sign a letter of recommendation despite her more than a decade working for him. Accordingly, Robinson refused to put her name on a letter of release that De Niro’s lawyers wanted her to sign.
Robinson’s suit today also called Canal’s $6 million preemptive suit against her in early August is “filled with baseless, bad faith, and frivolous allegations.”
“Ms. Robinson did not ‘loaf’ or ‘bingewatch’ during work, did not make unauthorized use of Canal’s credit card for personal expenses, did not make unauthorized use of Canal’s petty cash account for personal items, did not engage in unauthorized conversion of frequent flyer miles, and did not submit false information about her unused vacation allotment,” it read.
What Robinson, who during her employment at Canal was promoted to VP of Production and Finance, says did happen is that De Niro “made sexually-charged comments to her” and “was verbally abusive.” The suit adds that “De Niro communicated in a hostile, abusive, and intimidating manner with Ms. Robinson.” It says, “he attacked her in gender terms, calling her a ‘bitch’ and a ‘brat.’ ”
“De Niro made vulgar, inappropriate, and gendered comments to Ms. Robinson,” the October 3 paperwork asserts.
“He would joke with Ms. Robinson about his Viagra prescription. De Niro smirked to Ms. Robinson about his young paramour, who was around Ms. Robinson’s age. De Niro directed Ms. Robinson to imagine him on the toilet. He told Ms. Robinson that doing manual labor would ‘make a man out of you.’ De Niro suggested that Ms. Robinson could get pregnant using sperm from her (married) male co-worker.”
Which is all a very different way of saying “Are you talking to me?,” isn’t it? – or not.