Over the summer, Robert De Niro's company Canal Productions sued a former employee for $6 million, accusing her of embezzling money, abusing company credit cards, and binge-watching "astounding hours of TV shows on Netflix" on company time. That former employee, Graham Chase Robinson, has now filed a countersuit against De Niro accusing him of gender discrimination and verbal harassment, as well as "unwelcome physical contact, sexually charged comments, verbal abuse, and sex-stereotyping."
Robinson was initially hired as an assistant to De Niro in 2008; she was promoted to Canal Productions' vice president of production and finance in 2017. In her lawsuit, she claims De Niro treated her as his "office wife," giving her "stereotypically female" jobs like putting away his boxers, hanging up his clothes, washing his sheets, vacuuming his apartment, setting his table, mending his clothing, and selecting gifts for his children.
She says he created a hostile work environment for her by urinating during telephone calls with her and meeting with her wearing only his pajamas or a bathrobe. She claims De Niro instructed her to "scratch his back, button his shirts, fix his collars, tie his ties, and prod him awake when he was in bed. De Niro also stood idly by while his friend slapped Ms. Robinson on her buttocks."
He was also verbally abusive, the lawsuit alleges, and would "frequently bully, berate, and curse at her." That includes the voicemail you can hear below, in which De Niro calls Robinson a “spoiled brat,” says “how dare you fucking disrespect me,” and adds, “you’re fucking history.” According to a source, De Niro had been berating Robinson prior to that voicemail over a task that another employee was responsible for; the source claimed De Niro was drunk when he left the voicemail, and that they had been on multiple calls leading up to this voicemail.
"Robert De Niro is someone who has clung to old mores," the lawsuit states. "He does not accept the idea that men should treat women as equals. He does not care that gender discrimination in the workplace violates the law. Ms. Robinson is a casualty of this attitude." Robinson is seeking $12 million in damages.
De Niro's company Canal Productions sued Robinson in August for half that amount; that lawsuit alleged that Robinson charged hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses on Canal's American Express card, improperly used the company's petty cash fund to pay for personal items, and submitted false information in order to be paid for 96 days of "unused" vacation time. It also alleged that Robinson spent "astronomical amounts of time” watching Netflix during work hours, including a four-day period in January 2019 when she watched 55 episodes of Friends, which the suit notes, "carried over to an impressive 32 episodes on Saturday, January 12th alone."
Robinson denied all those accusations in her suit, which you can read in full below: "Canal’s lawsuit against Ms. Robinson was filled with baseless, bad faith, and frivolous allegations. Canal falsely accused Ms. Robinson of doing things that she had never done and repeatedly claimed that Ms. Robinson had engaged in improper transactions when, in fact, De Niro himself had approved those transactions. To be clear, 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."