Although he denied ever using obscenities towards his long-time personal assistant, Star acknowledged that he had criticised her, stating, “I was never abusive, ever.”
After it was determined that Robert De Niro’s company engaged in gender discrimination and retaliation, it was ordered to pay his former personal assistant over $1.2 million (£982,000). However, a jury determined that the actor was not personally liable for the abuse.
A judge ordered Canal Productions, De Niro’s employer, to pay Graham Chase Robinson, his long-time personal assistant, $632,143 in two installments.
De Niro, 80, was present for three days during the two-week trial, two of which were spent in the witness box. Since Ms. Robinson’s resignation in April 2019, they have engaged in competing legal disputes.
Ms. Robinson, 41, claimed that De Niro and his fiancée Tiffany Chen conspired against her to ruin a job she once cherished.
Ms. Robinson became a problem, according to testimony from De Niro and Ms. Chen, when her desire to advance beyond Canal Productions prompted her to make ever-increasing demands to maintain her position.
The actor testified before the jury for two days that, at her request, he increased Ms. Robinson’s annual salary from under $100,000 (£82,000) to $300,000 (£245,000) and promoted her to vice president of production and finance, despite the fact that her responsibilities remained largely unchanged.
De Niro stated that Ms. Robinson betrayed his trust, stole approximately $85,000 (£70,000) in airline miles, and violated his unwritten norms of using common sense and doing the right thing when she resigned.
From the witness box, De Niro acknowledged a number of the allegations that Ms. Robinson put forth in support of her $12 million (£10 million) lawsuit alleging gender discrimination and retaliation.
He acknowledged that he had requested that she touch his back a minimum of twice, then responded to a query regarding the matter, “Okay, twice? ‘You have me!'”
He acknowledged that he had criticised her but denied ever directing obscenities in her direction, stating, “I was never abusive, never.”
Furthermore, he denied ever yelling at her, claiming that anything she attempted to capture him with was nonsensical and that he had, at most, raised his voice in her presence, but never with disdain.
“Shame on you, Chase Robinson!” he exclaimed as he observed her seated between her solicitors in the courtroom.
“Psychological and emotional breakdown”
Ms. Robinson disclosed that she resigned from her position after experiencing an “emotional and mental breakdown” that rendered her despondent and “rock bottom.”
She has remained unemployed for four years despite her applications to 638 positions, leading to anxiety and depression.
She stated, “I have no social life.” “I am feeling so humiliated, embarrassed, and judged.” I feel somewhat damaged in some fashion… My existence was lost. I lost my job. I have lost my financial autonomy. “And I have lost every item.”
“A civil rights proceeding”
De Niro’s attorneys sued Ms. Robinson for breach of fealty and fiduciary duty before her 2019 lawsuit against him.
They demanded $5 million (£6 million) in damages, which encompassed the reimbursement of the five million airline miles.
Richard Schoenstein, De Niro’s attorney, stated in his closing argument on Wednesday that the stolen miles were worth approximately $85,000. He stated that the jury could order Ms. Robinson to return a portion of her salary but added, “We do not want you to punish her.”
Brent Hannafan, Ms. Robinson’s attorney, referred to the two weeks of court proceedings as a “civil rights trial” in his closing remarks, urging the jury to find in favour of “all civil rights litigants, not just Ms. Robinson.”
Presently, De Niro is starring in the Martin Scorsese film Killers Of The Flower Moon, for which he has won two Academy Awards.