Robert De Niro, star of Goodfellas, has defended himself in court after his former assistant filed a lawsuit alleging harassment and overwork.

Graham Chase Robinson filed her complaint after leaving De Niro’s assistantship in 2019, following 11 years of service.

Robinson said in the suit that De Niro made sexual jokes in her presence, yelled at her, called her terrible names, and forced her to perform everything from rubbing his back to arranging his Christmas tree.

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She is now suing De Niro for $12 million in damages for’severe emotional pain and reputational harm,’ which De Niro dismisses as ‘nonsense’ in court.

The actor, who looked gloomy as he entered the stand in Manhattan on Monday (30 October), raised his voice many times during his evidence as he reacted aggressively to the allegations.

De Niro admitted on the trial that he had placed Robinson as his emergency contact and relied on her for things such as making greeting cards for his children.

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When asked if he believed Robinson was a conscientious employee, he said, “Not after everything I’m going through now.”

When Robinson’s counsel suggested that De Niro had bothered her in the early hours of the morning in 2017, when he needed to go to the hospital, De Niro became enraged.

“That was one time when I cracked my back falling down the stairs,” she remarked.

When questioned why he didn’t contact his then-wife, Grace Hightower, for assistance, De Niro replied, “She was sleeping, I didn’t want to bother her.”

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During the trial, De Niro also insisted that he treated Robinson well after purchasing a five-bedroom apartment in Manhattan and asking her to oversee some of the preparations.

“I’m not asking her to go out there and scrape floors and mop the floor.” So this is all bullshit,” he concluded.

Robinson claims she was the target of De Niro’s rants, with one example provided in a voicemail included in the lawsuit.

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“You fking don’t pick up when I call. What are you thinking? You’re about to lose your job. “You’re fking history,” De Niro remarked in the undated recording.

“This is nonsense. How could you fk disrespect me? You’ve got to be kidding me, you spoilt brat! Fk you!”

The court was also given correspondence between De Niro and his girlfriend, Tiffany Chen, in which she seemed to question Robinson’s motives.

In one communication, Chen wrote: “Her possessive manner over the house makes me very uncomfortable, down to having the cable bill and the security system password be [in] her name.”

“It’s all very strange, and she’s not easing up on the strange sh*t either.” “I have a feeling things are getting worse.”

“She felt there was something there, and she may have been right,” De Niro testified in court.

When probed about Chen’s relationship with Robinson, De Niro said his former assistant had ‘disrespected’ him.

Robinson’s attorneys contended that their client was never romantically engaged in De Niro.

De Niro filed a lawsuit against Robinson in August 2019, alleging that she watched Netflix while working and misappropriated millions of De Niro’s frequent flier miles.

Robinson then filed her own case two months later in response to De Niro’s.

One of Robinson’s lawyers testified in court that De Niro “was a really demanding boss,” and that the actor would “make her life difficult.”


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