Robert De Niro took the stand Monday in a New York civil courtroom to testify in his own defense against a former executive assistant who is suing the “Taxi Driver” actor for gender discrimination, harassment, unwanted physical contact and verbal abuse.
De Niro dismissed the accusations from Graham Chase Robinson as “nonsense” and took offense at her attorney, Andrew Macurdy, trying to read something more into a line from the actor’s previous testimony.
“I don’t know what you’re trying to say,” De Niro said when Macurdy had him read back a prior quote that Robinson did “anything and everything” the assistant job required. “I don’t like that implication,” he said.
“I asked her to do anything within reason — within the confines of her job,” said the actor, who currently stars in “Killers of the Flower Moon.” The acting great was so agitated, according to media reports, that he was told by Judge by Lewis J. Liman at one point to stop talking over the objections of his own lawyers.
Robinson, former vice president of production and finance at De Niro’s imprint Canal Productions, filed the lawsuit in 2019. Her action was in response to a previous De Niro filed accusing her of embezzlement, stealing frequent-flyer miles and spending excessive amounts of time watching “Friends” on Netflix while on the job.
During his testimony, De Niro said that Robinson had been “pushy” about having her title changed from his assistant to VP of finance and production. “The job is what it is,” he said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “The titles were not important.”
He also said Robinson was “disrespectful” during an argument about moving paintings in his townhouse before painters arrived. “I wanted everybody to be happy and play nice,” he said. “Unfortunately that didn’t happen.”
Robinson’s original complaint says De Niro “treated her as though she was his ‘office wife,’” making her do demeaning domestic tasks like housework and buttoning the actor’s shirts, despite her executive title. She’s seeking $12 million in damages.
“Robert De Niro is someone who has clung to old mores,” according to the filing. “He does not accept the idea that men should treat women as equals. He does not care that gender discrimination in the workplace violates the law. Ms. Robinson is a casualty of this attitude.”
De Niro’s attorney, Tom Harvey, said at the time that her allegations are “beyond absurd.”
Robinson began working for Canal in 2008 as an assistant, but upon becoming a vice president, she claims she was assigned to gender-stereotypical duties and subjected to unwanted physical contact and sexually charged comments.
An eight-person jury was seated Monday. The case is expected to last two weeks. The same jury will also decide whether she is liable in his suit against her.
De Niro is expected to take the stand again on Tuesday.
The post Robert De Niro Gets Testy in Civil Court as Ex-Assistant’s Discrimination Lawsuit Goes to Trial appeared first on TheWrap.