De Niro’s Company Found Liable in Discrimination Case

( – A New York jury sided with a plaintiff that accused the production company of veteran actor Robert De Niro of gender discrimination, ordering the company to pay more than a million dollars in compensation.

The jury did not find De Niro himself liable for gender discrimination, but his production company, Canal Productions, was ordered to pay two installments of $632,142, or a total of more than $1.2 million, to Graham Chase Robinson, who served as De Niro’s personal assistant for many years.

For the last few years, De Niro and Robinson have been entangled in opposing suits against each other. The two-time Oscar winner sued Robinson 2019, alleging that the latter stole $85,000 worth of airline miles from him, while Robinson sued De Niro and Canal for alleged harassment and gender discrimination.

The result was a civil trial that addressed both lawsuits, with both De Niro and Robinson taking the stand – although the actor was not in court when the jury gave their decision.

During his testimony, De Niro said that aside from the stolen airline miles, Robinson also made inordinate financial demands, many of which he acceded to. For example, he said that he increased her salary from less than $100,000 a year to $300,000 while also giving her the title of vice president of production and finance – all at her behest and despite there being no change in her work for him. He also admitted to occasionally berating her, as well as having her scratch his back twice, but the actor stressed that he was “never, abusive, ever” and was always “respectful”.

For her part, Robinson said that De Niro asking her to scratch his back was “creepy” and “disgusting,” and alleged that De Niro’s girlfriend, Tiffany Chen, took issue with her, accusing her of having “imaginary intimacy” with the actor. Robinson denied that she ever had any romantic interest in her former boss. She also said that De Niro once told her that his personal trainer got paid more than her because he (the trainer) “had a family to support.” De Niro and Chen’s behavior, she said, created a toxic work environment that turned a job she used to love into a nightmare.

Following the jury’s decision, lawyers for both camps declared victory. Robinson’s camp said that the decision and financial compensation vindicated their client. Attorneys for De Niro pointed out that the jury absolved the actor of any personal wrongdoing, and the financial payout was significantly less than the $12 million Robinson originally sued for.

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