The trial on gender discrimination and retaliation fees in opposition to Robert De Niro and his loan-out firm, Canal Productions, started Monday within the U.S. District Court docket for the Southern District of New York, with De Niro taking the stand as the primary witness.
The trial arises out of claims introduced by Graham Chase Robinson, Canal’s former vp of manufacturing and finance, who alleged that De Niro had made “vulgar, inappropriate and gendered feedback” to Robinson, underpaid her based mostly on her gender and overworked her, calling her a “spoiled brat” in an expletive-filled voicemail, when she didn’t choose up a cellphone name. Moreover she alleges that she was nonetheless requested to carry out gendered duties, comparable to mending clothes and doing laundry, whereas an government, amongst different allegations.
“Robert De Niro is somebody who has clung to previous mores,” the criticism states. “He doesn’t settle for the concept that males ought to deal with girls as equals. He doesn’t care that gender discrimination within the office violates the regulation. Ms. Robinson is a casualty of this angle.”
Her retaliation declare stems from correspondences and interactions with De Niro’s girlfriend Tiffany Chen, who she alleges pushed her out of the job after rising jealous of her interactions with De Niro and her function of their lives.
In her unique criticism, Robinson sought no less than $12 million in damages.
Her lawsuit, filed in July 2021, got here after De Niro‘s Canal Productions had filed a $6 million lawsuit in opposition to Robinson in New York state court docket in August 2019, alleging that Robinson, who had been the corporate’s vp of manufacturing and finance, had abused firm bank cards and binged “astounding hours of TV reveals,” whereas on the clock.
Robinson’s workforce alleges that the lawsuit filed in opposition to her got here in retaliation after Robinson resigned from Canal Productions and her counsel knowledgeable De Niro that she was contemplating bringing a gender discrimination go well with in opposition to him.
In July 2021, a federal choose allowed De Niro to re-plead the claims he’d made in state court docket in response to the go well with Robinson had filed in opposition to him.
Eight jurors had been chosen Monday and each side performed their opening arguments, with Robinson’s counsel calling her a “loyal worker” and pointing to the emails from Chen to De Niro, wherein she allegedly mentioned “This bitch must be put in her fucking place” after a battle over portray De Niro’s townhouse. Protection claimed that whereas Chen was “generally somewhat opinionated,” there was no retaliation and “no romantic relationship” between De Niro and Robinson. They additional argue that the case includes a “breach of belief,” between De Niro and Robinson and that Robinson had charged an “extraordinary” quantity of private bills to the corporate and transferred 5 million Delta SkyMiles to her account, earlier than planning to go away the corporate.
De Niro took the stand, as the primary witness known as by the plaintiff’s counsel, and when questioned by counsel pushed again on claims of asking Robinson to do “something and all the pieces,” as a part of her job, saying he was “cautious” about what jobs he requested her to do, including “I don’t like that implication.” This got here after he agreed with Robinson’s counsel that he had known as her at 4:30 a.m. after hurting his again, however he mentioned that it was a one-time incidence.
He additionally mentioned, in help of his counsel’s opening statements, that whereas Robinson’s title modified from assistant to vp of finance and manufacturing, she had been “pushy” and requested for that title, however that her tasks hadn’t modified.
“The job is what it’s,” De Niro mentioned. “The titles weren’t vital.”
De Niro continued to push again on questions requested by the plaintiff’s counsel, with each events elevating their voices at one level and being advised by Choose Lewis J. Liman to maintain their voices down and communicate extra slowly.
“You don’t have to subscribe or not subscribe, you simply have to reply the query,” Liman advised De Niro at one level.
Whereas De Niro agreed that Robinson and Chen had come to a disagreement over shifting work in his townhouse to organize for painters, he posited that “Robinson was disrespectful to her interval.”
“I wished all people to be comfortable and play good,” he mentioned. “Sadly that didn’t occur.”
His testimony, and cross-examination by his counsel is anticipated to proceed Tuesday. The trial is anticipated to final till Nov. 10.