In a recent legal battle, Robert De Niro’s former personal assistant, Graham Chase Robinson, was awarded $1.2 million in a gender discrimination and retaliation case against De Niro’s company, Canal Productions. Although De Niro himself was not held personally responsible, his company has been ordered to make two payments totaling $632,142 to Robinson.
The trial, which lasted for two weeks, featured testimonies from both De Niro and his girlfriend, Tiffany Chen. During his testimony, De Niro admitted to berating Robinson but denied yelling at her. Chen accused Robinson of harboring romantic feelings for De Niro and described her as a “mean, insecure, territorial girl” who acted as if she were his wife. However, Robinson, who worked for De Niro from 2008 to 2019, denied having any romantic interest in the actor.
The legal battle between Robinson and Canal Productions began in 2019 when the company filed a $6 million lawsuit against Robinson, accusing her of “company sabotage” and misusing funds. In response, Robinson filed her own suit, alleging gender-based discrimination and retaliation by De Niro and Canal Productions. Her lawsuit claimed that De Niro made sexist comments, assigned her stereotypically female tasks, and paid her less than a male counterpart.
Furthermore, Robinson’s suit alleged that Chen falsely accused her of having a romantic interest in De Niro, resulting in a loss of job responsibilities. Initially, Robinson sought $12 million in damages for emotional distress and harm to her reputation.
This case sheds light on the persistent issue of gender discrimination and retaliation in the workplace, even in high-profile industries such as entertainment. The jury’s decision to award Robinson a substantial sum in damages sends a clear message that such behavior will not be tolerated.
As for De Niro, although he was not held personally liable, the verdict against his company raises questions about his responsibility in creating a work environment free from discrimination and harassment. Moving forward, it remains to be seen whether this case will inspire changes within Canal Productions and set a precedent for other similar cases in the industry.
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