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Robert DeNiro on Trial for Gender Discrimination

Graham Chase Robinson started her work for Robert DeNiro as an executive assistant, eventually ending up as a vice president in his production company, Canal Productions. She alleges DeNiro treated her like an “office wife,” expecting her to wash his sheets, mend his clothes, vacuum his apartment, and scratch his back over her ten years working for him. DeNiro purportedly called her a “bitch” and a “brat.” Robinson claims she received less pay than a male employee with a job equal in skill and responsibility. DeNiro allegedly continued referring to her as an assistant after promoting her to vice president. Robinson is seeking $12 million in damages.

DeNiro testified that he only called Robinson during "civilized hours" and sometimes asked her to arrange travel and manage gift purchases for family and friends. The actor described himself as a trusting and attentive boss who usually did not yell. DeNiro did concede he “berated” Robinson on one occasion when she did not wake him up as asked. He denied being abusive toward her. DeNiro testified on the stand that he may have requested Robinson to scratch his back once or twice, denying that it was "lewd" or "disrespectful."

DeNiro’s Canal Productions countersued Robinson for $6 million because she purportedly transferred more than 450,000 airline miles to her personal account and spent tens of thousands of company money on food, travel, and other personal services. He testified employees acted on the honor system, and Robinson abused it by ultimately transferring 5 million miles shortly before leaving the company. A New York jury will decide the claims.