New York, NY – A former personal assistant to actor Robert De Niro was awarded over $1.2 million by a jury on Thursday after the court found one of De Niro’s companies responsible for subjecting her to a toxic work environment. The jury ruled that while De Niro himself was not personally liable for the abuse, his company, Canal Productions, engaged in gender discrimination and retaliation against the former assistant, Graham Chase Robinson. As a result, the company has been ordered to make two payments of $632,142 to Robinson.
Robinson, 41, smiled as the verdict was delivered and hugged her lawyers after the jury left the room. De Niro, who had spent three days at the two-week trial, was not present when the verdict was announced. Outside the courthouse, Robinson was seen smiling broadly but did not comment.
Both sides claimed victory, with Robinson’s attorney expressing satisfaction with the verdict and De Niro’s attorney calling it a “great victory.” The lawyer also mentioned the possibility of post-verdict motions to the judge in an attempt to reduce the award, but uncertainty remained regarding a potential appeal.
During the trial, Robinson testified that De Niro and his girlfriend had teamed up against her, turning her job into a nightmare. De Niro and his girlfriend, Tiffany Chen, testified that Robinson became problematic when she began making escalating demands to remain on the job after expressing aspirations to move beyond Canal Productions. Emails were presented as evidence, in which Chen expressed her belief that Robinson had an imaginary intimacy with De Niro and wished to be his wife.
De Niro himself acknowledged many of the claims made by Robinson, including berating her and requesting her to scratch his back. However, he denied any abusive behavior and insisted that Robinson had betrayed his trust by stealing airline miles from him when she quit. Robinson, on the other hand, testified that she quit due to an emotional and mental breakdown that left her feeling depleted.
In addition to the monetary award, De Niro’s lawyers had previously sued Robinson for breach of loyalty and fiduciary duty, seeking $6 million in damages and the return of 5 million airline miles. However, the jury rejected these claims.
Robert De Niro, the acclaimed actor who has won two Oscars over the past five decades, has been involved in a legal battle with Robinson since her resignation in 2019. De Niro is currently appearing in the Martin Scorsese film “Killers of the Flower Moon.”
The jury’s decision holds De Niro’s company accountable for subjecting Robinson to a toxic work environment, and while De Niro himself was not found personally liable, the verdict serves as a recognition of gender discrimination and retaliation. Robinson has been awarded $1.2 million in total, receiving two payments of $632,142 from Canal Productions.