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Robert De Niro sued by ex-assistant over gender discrimination and harassment

The actor is trading lawsuits with Chase Robinson after their decade-long working relationship turned sour.

Robert De Niro is trading duelling lawsuits with his former assistant (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Robert De Niro is trading duelling lawsuits with his former assistant (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

By Larry Neumeister, Associated Press

Robert De Niro’s former assistant is suing the American actor, saying he subjected her to sexist and harassing comments.

Chase Robinson is seeking 12 million US dollars in a lawsuit which claims she endured years of gender discrimination and harassment as the Taxi Driver and Raging Bull star made sexually charged comments, was verbally abusive and treated her as his “office wife”.

The legal action comes six weeks after 76-year-old De Niro’s company, Canal Productions, filed a lawsuit seeking 6 million dollars from Robinson, accusing her of misappropriating money.

He would joke with Ms Robinson about his Viagra prescription

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 eventual 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”.

Canal’s 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”.

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The lawsuit came six weeks after De Niro’s company sought 6 million dollars from Robinson in state court (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

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 a lawsuit to address De Niro’s gender discrimination and wage violations.

“The 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,” her lawsuit said.

PA

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