A jury has decided that Robert De Niro’s production business, Canal Productions, must pay more than $1.2 million to Graham Chase Robinson, who used to work as De Niro’s personal assistant. The jury concluded that Canal Productions had fostered a hostile work environment, discriminated against Robinson on the basis of her gender, and retaliated against her. The jury found De Niro not personally responsible for the abuse but ordered his company to pay Robinson two installments totaling $632,142.
De Niro has been embroiled in legal conflicts with Robinson ever since she left in April 2019. De Niro was present for three days of the trial and testified for two of those days. After the jury left, Robinson, 41, smiled after hearing the verdict and hugged her attorneys.
The verdict was welcomed by Robinson’s lawyer, Brent Hannafan, who said, “We’re thrilled with the verdict—couldn’t be happier.” On the other hand, Richard Schoenstein, De Niro’s lawyer, called it a “great victory for Mr. De Niro” because his client was cleared of any responsibility. He acknowledged the little award against the corporation and added that a claim for $12 million was to be expected.
Robinson testified throughout the trial that she was subjected to an abusive work environment at the hands of De Niro and his girlfriend, Tiffany Chen. De Niro and Chen, in turn, stated that Robinson became difficult owing to escalating demands after expressing goals beyond her employment at Canal Productions.
Court documents showed that Chen was worried that Robinson had a “imaginary intimacy” with De Niro. Robinson said he and De Niro were just friends. During his evidence, the actor admitted to Robinson’s assertions about wage hikes and certain contacts, but he denied Robinson’s allegations of abusive behavior.
After experiencing a “emotional and mental breakdown,” Robinson left her work and has struggled ever since. The jury found Robinson not guilty of breach of allegiance and fiduciary responsibility and awarded De Niro’s attorneys $6 million in damages. Two-time Academy Award winner Robert De Niro is still actively working in the film industry, with his most recent role being in Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.”