Robert De Niro admitted in a Manhattan court docket that he ordered his former assistant to scratch his again, angrily declaring: ‘You bought me!’
The actor, 80, is dealing with accusations he discriminated towards his former assistant Graham Chase Robinson, 41, in a four-year authorized battle that went to trial on Monday.
His former staffer Robinson has accused the actor of gender discrimination whereas working for his firm, Canal Productions. De Niro’s firm initially sued Robinson alleging improper spending of the corporate’s accounts.
On the second day of the trial on Tuesday, De Niro turned flustered and irate as he took to the stand to fight allegations he subjected Robinson to years of abusive language, undesirable bodily advances and misogyny.
In a startling second whereas on the stand, the Oscar-winning actor confronted his accuser and mentioned earlier than a surprised courtroom: ‘Disgrace on you, Chase Robinson! God da**it! I am sorry.’
Actor Robert De Niro, 80, departs federal court docket on the second day of his trial on October 31, 2023 in New York Metropolis
The actor’s former assistant Graham Chase Robinson (pictured leaving court docket on Monday) alleges she was discriminated towards by De Niro
The 80-year-old has countered that Robinson improperly spend funds whereas working for him
Robinson started working for De Niro in 2008 as his assistant, and finally rose to the place of vice-president of Canal Productions. It has been reported that she had a wage of $300,000 when she resigned in April 2019.
She alleges in her lawsuit that De Niro handled her like an ‘workplace spouse’, and made her carry out menial duties together with washing his sheets and scratching his again. Robinson additionally alleges that she was paid lower than a male worker she felt had comparable obligations.
She is searching for $12 million in damages for extreme emotional misery and reputational hurt.
Her million lawsuit was rapidly launched following an preliminary lawsuit by De Niro’s Canal Productions in August 2019, accusing her of improper spending together with transferring over $450,000 value of airline miles from the corporate to her personal private account.
She can also be accused of spending tens of 1000’s extra on private objects, meals and journey and spending her days binge watching Netflix.
Each lawsuits are set to be determined in the identical trial, which is predicted to final two weeks.
On Tuesday, De Niro confronted questioning over his alleged mistreatment of Robinson, together with an incident the place he allegedly ordered Robinson to scratch his again. When she requested if he may use a again scratcher, he refused as he favored the way in which she did it, the court docket heard.
The star grew visibly pissed off as he batted off questions, in the end confessing that the back-scratching occurred on two events.
‘Okay, twice? You bought me! I am saying that is nonsense,’ he mentioned on the stand. ‘It was by no means executed with any disrespect.’
In a startling second, De Niro then confronted his former worker, bellowing to the court docket: ‘Disgrace on you, Chase Robinson! God da**it! I am sorry.’
De Niro, seen in a courtroom sketch, surprised the courtroom on Tuesday as he confronted his accuser and instructed her ‘disgrace on you’
De Niro participated in over 5 hours of testimony heard on Tuesday, in a four-year authorized battle that lastly reached a Manhattan court docket on Monday
Robert De Niro’s girlfriend Tiffany Chen pictured in New York earlier this yr
Robinson’s attorneys sought to painting De Niro as a demanding boss, together with by taking part in an audio recording of the actor calling her at 6:30am on a Sunday morning to get entry to his laptop.
De Niro participated in over 5 hours of testimony heard by the court docket Tuesday, providing a extra detailed glimpse on the allegations towards the 80-year-old.
In addition to admitting to the back-scratching allegations, De Niro additionally acknowledged he has instructed Robinson to make use of Uber to order him a martini from the Nobu sushi lounge late at evening.
Robinson claimed that he known as her twice to interrupt her grandmother’s funeral in 2015 so she may purchase his teenage son a bus ticket. When questioned concerning the incident, he replied: ‘So?’
He continued: ‘If I did then I did,’ including he would have been ‘delicate to it being a funeral.’
De Niro mentioned that it might have been a wake and that Robinson might have mentioned she may ‘speak at this level.’
He mentioned: ‘It isn’t prefer it’s a funeral the place they’re placing the physique into the bottom, or no matter.’ A testy De Niro known as the query ‘bull’ and stopped answering.
De Niro is presently starring in Martin Scorsese’s newest hit Killers Of The Flower Moon, pictured with co-star Leonardo DiCaprio
De Niro additionally defended probably branding Robinson a ‘f***ing spoiled brat’, allegedly in a fiery message left for the staffer that was not performed for the jury, however was included in her lawsuit.
He admitted he ‘raised my voice’ and that he was ‘upset’, as a result of she had not woken him up for an necessary occasion he needed to attend.
‘I may have too, I used to be upset,’ he mentioned. ‘She did not wake me up and made me miss this factor in Malibu.’
Robinson’s lawyer Andrew Macurdy mentioned that De Niro ‘berated’ Robinson on the decision and he conceded ‘that point I did.’
The second day of the trial was marked by tense back-and-forth’s from each side, nevertheless there was a second De Niro appeared to quip along with his lawyer.
His lawyer took objection to the questioning of his shopper and argued it was ‘improper impeachment’, to which De Niro replied: ‘Impeachment? Am I being impeached?’
‘Needed to say it, sorry,’ he added because the courtroom broke out into laughter.
The actor additionally responded angrily to strategies Robinson was not paid the identical as his male coach, because the court docket heard she requested to be paid the identical as them in 2018.
He pushed again towards strategies she ought to have been paid the identical because the coach that had ‘traveled with me for 40 years, left his household to be with me for lengthy durations of time.’
He mentioned, ‘She’s jealous of him.’
De Niro was then requested if he spoke to Robinson on the cellphone whereas urinating. He protested: ‘I could have been within the rest room. I did not understand I used to be speaking. Come on! You bought us all right here right this moment for this?’
Macurdy requested if De Niro instructed Robinson to make use of a coworkers’ sperm to get pregnant.
De Niro mentioned: ‘I do not bear in mind saying it.’
Requested if he ever known as Robinson a ‘b**** to her face,’ De Niro mentioned he was ‘by no means abusive.’
De Niro’s trial has been marked by a number of hostile moments between his and Robinson’s attorneys
The jury had been proven e-mail and textual content messages between De Niro and his girlfriend and the mom of his months-old youngster, Tiffany Chen, 45, as a consequence of allegations Chen pressured him to fireplace Robinson.
This included e-mail exchanges between them at 2am on March 2, 2019, the place Chen mentioned: ‘For those who maintain her (Robinson) you and I’ll have issues’. Chen known as Robinson ‘f****** impolite’ and a ‘dismissive b****.’
She mentioned: ‘I do not understand how you do not see it. You do not need to see it since you’re too near her.’
De Niro replied that he agreed and Robinson’s conduct was ‘unacceptable.’
Chen replied: ‘I am not going to be pleased till you inform me she’s in search of a substitute. Retaining her round is only a slap in my face.’
Macurdy requested if De Niro agreed this was an ‘ultimatum.’
De Niro replied: ‘You name it an ultimatum, I do not’. He instructed the jury he thought that it was a request from Chen for Robinson to cease working at their townhouse.
‘Nobody tells me what to do in my workplace. Interval!’ he added.
Additional emails proven to the jury included Chen claiming Robinson had a ‘crush’ on the now-80-year-old, the place she wrote, ‘The extra I discover out probably the most disgusted I change into.’
Chen additionally claimed that Robinson had a ‘fantasy relationship’ with De Niro.
By April 2, 2019, Robinson requested that she cease working at their residence due to stress in the home, suggesting she did not desire a repeat of the clashes between De Niro’s earlier private assistant and Grace Hightower, his ex-wife.
After studying the e-mail, Chen reacted with fury and emailed De Niro: ‘This s**** actually p***** me off,’ branding Robinson ‘so manipulative.’
She mentioned: ‘This b**** must be put in her f****** place.’
In one other e-mail Chen wrote to De Niro saying: ‘She’s (Robinson’s) received a f****** nerve with the claims she’s making in that e-mail.’
The jury had been proven emails and texts between the movie star and his girlfriend Tiffany Chen (pictured in June 2023), a martial arts teacher and mom of De Niro’s months-old child
4 days after that incident, emails despatched by Chen had been additionally proven to the court docket that exposed she requested De Niro’s accountants to probe Robinson’s spending habits.
That very same day, Robinson give up, emailing De Niro she had been ‘loyal, protecting to the purpose of alienating others’ and having labored ‘past exhausting work’ with 80-90 hour weeks.
When Robinson first filed her lawsuit 4 years in the past, her lawyer argued on Tuesday that she did so after first making an attempt to give up her position in November 2018 however was prevented by De Niro after he warned he would give her a nasty job reference.
Requested concerning the allegations, De Niro brushed them off and replied: ‘You’re saying I threatened her? I don’t do this. She labored for me, I handled her with respect.’
When questioned over whether or not De Niro saved Robinson on with a ‘carrot and stick’, an offended De Niro replied: ‘What carrot and stick? I do not know what you are speaking about. That is not my manner.’
De Niro mentioned that they ‘negotiated’ and got here to an association – her wage was elevated from $200,000 to $300,000 a yr.
He mentioned: ‘I used to be going by a divorce, I used to be shifting. I mentioned this isn’t a superb time. I knew what she was doing. She picked a time to say she was going to go away. It was not like I mentioned you must do that. We talked it over.’
Macurdy once more requested if the ‘carrot’ was an elevated wage.
De Niro angrily mentioned: ‘Carrot? I wanted her. It wasn’t a carrot. It wasn’t being powerful one minute and good the following. Loads was occurring and I wanted her to assist me.’
On June 11, 2019, a couple of months after Robinson finally give up, she wrote to him asking why he was refusing to present her a letter of advice for the London Faculty of Economics.
De Niro was additionally asking her to signal a authorized waiver which might have prevented her from suing him and his firm.
Robinson prompt a severance bundle of two years of her $300,000 wage, two years of medical protection and a gathering with De Niro.
The court docket was proven messages from Chen to De Niro by which she instructed him that if Robinson give up, he didn’t should pay severance.
De Niro responded: ‘I do know however I will do what’s proper.’
De Niro rejected the concept Chen was accountable for the scenario, telling the court docket: ‘She (Chen) needed to have an opinion (however) what I’ll do, I’ll do.’
5 days later Chen introduced it up once more and De Niro as soon as once more dismissed the concept his girlfriend was calling the pictures.
He mentioned: ‘I do not care what she was saying. Perhaps she was upset. I’ve to do what I’ve to do. She did not perceive sure issues.’
De Niro reacted with fury when Robinson threatened to rent legal professionals after she resigned from his firm Canal Productions, the court docket heard.
Robinson, who labored for De Niro between 2008 and 2019, was paid $300,000 yearly earlier than she give up as his vp of manufacturing and finance
De Niro’s authorized workforce allege that Robinson misused an organization Amex to deal with herself to lavish holidays, cling luggage, dinners, and devices
Angry text messages between the film star and Chen had been additionally proven to the court docket.
Within the July 2019 message, De Niro mentioned: ‘Are you able to consider Chase. Who the f*** does she suppose she is?’
Chen replied: ‘She thought she was your spouse. I noticed it from the start. I instructed you.’
De Niro replied: ‘The ba**s. The nerve. The chutzpah. The sense of entitlement. How dare her!’
Chen mentioned: ‘Tom will get her,’ referring to De Niro’s lawyer who was making ready to put in writing a letter accusing her of stealing firm cash.
In a July 2019 message to girlfriend Tiffany Chen, De Niro mentioned: ‘Are you able to consider Chase. Who the f*** does she suppose she is?’
He then alleged that whereas he might not model her ‘disloyal’, he ‘needed to get her as a result of she stole stuff from me.’
He continued: ‘The entire case is nonsense, it’s ridiculous… I needed my issues again, that’s all I’m asking. Return my issues, return my air miles. Sufficient is sufficient.
‘She had taken issues from me and never executed the proper factor. I requested her to return them however she didn’t do the proper factor. She requested me for a letter of advice, which in no way would I ever, ever, ever signal.’
He instructed the court docket: ‘How a lot of this abuse am I going to take? This entire case is nonsense. It is absurd.’
Robinson’s lawyer argued that Canal Productions solely filed their lawsuit first as a result of the staffer had threatened authorized motion, and the corporate needed to ’embarrass her’ within the public eye earlier than she filed her personal lawsuit.
‘I do not care concerning the press,’ De Niro fired again, in some of the hostile exchanges of the day’s proceedings.
‘I cared about her giving my stuff again and doing the proper factor,’ he added. ‘I did not need to break her. I’ve no management over the press. She’s extra press-oriented than I’m. She ought to have thought, ‘I’ll give the air miles again.’ Case closed, executed.’
He mentioned he instructed Robinson she had permission to take as much as two million airmiles from the corporate account for emergencies, however assumed she would act beneath an ‘honor system’ to not abuse the privilege.
He claimed she was ‘taking liberties’ however he struggled to pinpoint particular incidents the place she allegedly abused that system.
Nor may he title any taxis that his firm paid for and he now claims had been for private causes.
De Niro mentioned in his lawsuit that Robinson give up in April 2019 after ‘suspicions arose’ about his staffers’ ‘honesty, integrity, work ethic and motivation.’ He added on Tuesday that when he lastly acquired her resignation, he was ‘relieved.’
De Niro’s authorized workforce have prompt Robinson ‘all the time performed the sufferer’ and was a money-hungry ex-employee.
‘It is good to work for a film star, however it may be mundane,’ De Niro’s lawyer, Richard Schoenstein defined.