Graham Chase Robinson is the former Vice President of Production and Finance at Robert De Niro‘s company, Canal Productions. She filed a lawsuit on Thursday in the Southern District of New York alleging that De Niro subjected her to “years of gender discrimination and harassment,” and created a “hostile work environment.”
According to Robinson, De Niro’s harassment included, “gratuitous physical unwanted contact” and “sexually charged comments”. He also allegedly treated her as an “office wife”, assigned her “stereotypically female duties such as housework”.
Robinson alleges that De Niro overworked and underpaid her. She says that she was forced to work much longer hours than her male counterparts and was paid less because De Niro said she was not a “male breadwinner” Robinson would typically “start working by around 7 a.m. and stop working around 8 p.m.” She also “routinely worked approximately 20 to 30 hours of overtime per week” and claims that even De Niro once described her as being “chained” to the office.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Chase Robinson is an “entertainment professional” and has worked at Canal Productions for 11 years (2008 – 2019). Per her lawsuit, despite being promoted Vice President of Production and Finance De Niro would still regularly refer to her as his “assistant”.
De Niro’s lawyer Tom Harvey has said of the lawsuit, “The allegations made by Graham Chase Robinson against Robert De Niro are beyond absurd.”
Robinson is seeking $12 million in the lawsuit for “back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages,
attorneys’ fees, costs, and other appropriate relief.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. De Niro Sued Chase Robinson for $6M in August for Embezzlement and Netflix Bingeing
The world first learned about Chase Robinson back in August of this year when Robert De Niro filed a lawsuit against her. His lawsuit claimed she wasted “astronomical amounts of time” at work watching Netflix and used a corporate account to pay for tens of thousands of dollars of luxury meals, trips, and groceries.
Robinson’s alleged Netflix watching during work hours included 55 episodes of Friends during one four-day period in January. In a separate four-day period, the lawsuit claims she watched 20 episodes of Arrested Development and 10 of Schitt’s Creek.
“Watching shows on Netflix was not in any way part of or related to the duties and responsibilities of Robinson’s employment and, on information and belief, was done for her personal entertainment, amusement, and pleasure at times when she was being paid to work.” The lawsuit read.
The lawsuit says Robinson spent $12,696.65 in unauthorized charges at upscale New York hot spot Paola’s over a two-year period. It also claims she spent $8,923.20 buying high priced groceries at Dean and Deluca and Whole Foods, and a staggering $32,000 for Ubers and taxis. De Niro also says she used the company’s petty cash to reimburse herself for Louis Vuitton bags and iPhones.
Robinson claims that the lawsuit was all part of an effort to discredit her and get ahead of her lawsuit. In her version of events, she says she quit Canal in April 2019 and informed them of her potential lawsuit against them. That’s when, according to her lawsuit, De Niro took a page out of the “Bill O’Reilly playbook.” and sued Robinson in order to create “clickbait allegations” that “characterize 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.” The lawsuit reads.
2. De Niro Left Her an Expletive Laden Voicemail After She Missed One of His Calls
Robinson’s lawsuit says that Robinson was “on call” during her time at the company and expected to “drop everything” when he De Niro needed something. In one instance, she ignored his call and received an angry, offensive voicemail from the Academy Award-winning actor.
Robinson and the law firm representing her, Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, posted the voicemail on YouTube and on their website in order to demonstrate the harassment they describe in their lawsuit.
De Niro calls her a “spoiled brat,” and says “F*** you”, “how dare you f***ing disrespect me,” and threatening her, saying “you’re f***ing history.”
“You’re upset with me? And you tell me how nice you have it with your life over there? Then you f***** don’t answer my call? How dare you. You’re about to be fired.”
The lawsuit claims this is one of several voicemails and instances where De Niro has spoken this way to Robinson.
3. She Claims De Niro Sexually Harassed Her And “Initiated Gratuitous Physical Contact”
Robinson’s most shocking allegations stem from sexist comments and behavior on the part of Robert De Niro. In the lawsuit she claims that the actor constantly made “vulgar, inappropriate, and gendered comments” towards her including talking about his Viagra prescription, telling her that manual labor would “make a man out of you,” and suggesting she use the sperm of a male co-worker to get pregnant.
She also claims he urinated while on the phone with her and would regularly show up to meetings wearing only his pajamas of a bathrobe. De Niro allegedly directed Robinson to “scratch his back, button his shirts, fix his collars, tie his ties, and prod him awake when he was in bed.” He also “stood idly by while his friend slapped Ms. Robinson on her buttocks.”
De Niro also allegedly subjected her to “office wife” duties which included “put away his boxers, hang up his clothes, wash his sheets, vacuum his apartment, set his table, mend his clothing, and select gifts for his children.” And responded angrily when she objected.
4. She is Credited in 4 of De Niro’s Movies
Chase Robinson has 4 credits on her IMDB page including “The Comedian”, “Silver Linings Playbook”, “Killer Elite”, and “Limitless”. She is credited as “assistant: Mr. De Niro” in every movie except “The Comedian” where she is listed as “director of production: Canal Productions”.
She is also given a “special thanks” in the “Final Exposure” episode of “Nat Geo’s Most Amazing Photos” although her role in the show is unclear.
5. De Niro Allegedly Threatened Consequences When Robinson Tried to Leave
Chase Robinson was fed up with her work conditions in November 2018 and met with Robert De Niro to resign. He “induced her to stay” by saying that her work conditions would improve.
In addition to promising better work conditions, he also said he would give her a “bad recommendation” if she left.
“De Niro responded with both a carrot and a stick – he made promises to induce to her stay and threatened repercussions if she left. Given De Niro’s prominence in the entertainment industry, he had the power to carry out his threats.” says the lawsuit.