Robert De Niro is being sued by a former assistant who has claimed he subjected her to sexist behaviour.
The 76-year-old Hollywood legend has been hit with a lawsuit from Chase Robinson, who is seeking $12million (£9.73m) following claims she endured years of gender discrimination and harassment as the actor star made sexually charged comments, was verbally abusive and treated her as his “office wife”.
In a statement from Tom Harvey, attorney for Robert De Niro, the claims were firmly denied: “The allegations made by Graham Chase Robinson against Robert De Niro are beyond absurd.”
The legal action comes six weeks after De Niro’s company, Canal Productions, filed its own lawsuit seeking $6million (£4.86m) from Robinson, accusing her of misappropriating money.
According to Robinson’s lawsuit, De Niro used to direct the 37-year-old to scratch his back, button his shirts, fix his collars, tie his ties and wake him up when he was in bed while she was an executive assistant and later vice president of production and finance.
The lawsuit said: “De Niro would unleash tirades against Ms Robinson – often while he was intoxicated – in which he denigrated, berated, bullied, and hurled expletives at her.
“De Niro made vulgar, inappropriate, and gendered comments to Ms Robinson. He would joke with Ms Robinson about his Viagra prescription.”
The lawsuit included a link to a profanity-laced voicemail message De Niro once left Robinson in which he called her a “spoiled brat”.
Meanwhile Canal’s counter-lawsuit alleged Robinson misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars, converted millions of the company’s frequent flyer miles for her personal use, paid herself from Canal’s petty cash account for personal and luxury items and “loafed during working hours, binge-watching astounding hours of TV shows on Netflix”.
It said the company “seeks economic damages from a disloyal employee who, despite being in a trusted position, repeatedly and methodically abused her position to misappropriate her employer’s funds and property for her personal gain”.
Robinson countered in her lawsuit that the lawsuit against her was retaliatory because it was filed after she had resigned and informed De Niro’s lawyer that she was considering her own lawsuit.
Her lawsuit says: “(Canal’s) lawsuit is replete with ‘clickbait’ allegations that falsely characterise Ms Robinson as a loafer, a thief, and a miscreant.
“Now, when her name is Googled, these allegations pop up on the screen. The results have been devastating to Ms Robinson. Her reputation and her career have been destroyed.”
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