MANHATTAN (CN) – Two months after she was cast as a Netflix-bingeing loaf in a lawsuit by Robert De Niro’s production company, the former assistant to the iconic actor fired back Thursday with a $12 million federal complaint.
Represented by Sanford Heisler Sharp, 36-year-old Graham Chase Robinson alleges that an unchecked environment of harassment and gender discrimination at De Niro’s company Canal Productions left her no choice but to quit in April 2019 after 11 years of service.
Because she warned her former employers through counsel of her plan to sue, however, Robinson says “De Niro took a page out of the Bill O’Reilly playbook” and went to court first.
Filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Canal’s lawsuit accused Robinson of embezzlement.
Bur Robinson says the salacious counts were designed as “clickbait” to ruin her reputation.
“Now, when her name is Googled, these allegations pop up on the screen,” Robinson says, filing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. “The results have been devasting (sic) to Ms. Robinson. Her reputation and her career have been destroyed.”
Detailing the conduct that made her quit in the first place, Robinson says De Niro subjected her to unwanted physical contact and could be heard urinating during telephone calls with her.
“He treated Ms. Robinson as his ‘office wife,’ assigned her stereotypically female duties like housework, and insisted that she be available to him around the clock,” the complaint states.
Robinson says De Niro underpaid her because she was not a male breadwinner and denied her overtime pay, even though she routinely worked 20 to 30 hours of overtime per week.
“He attacked her in gender terms, calling her a ‘bitch’ and a ‘brat,’” the complaint states. “In speaking to Ms. Robinson, he called his female business partner a ‘cunt’ and referred to his executive assistants as ‘the girls.’ De Niro would unleash tirades against Ms. Robinson – often while he was intoxicated – in which he denigrated, berated, bullied, and hurled expletives at her.”
A footnote in the lawsuit includes a link to a recording of an expletive-loaded voicemail, in which the livid “Raging Bull” actor calls Robinson a “spoiled fucking brat.”
Robinson’s attorneys posted the recording on YouTube.
Last fall, De Niro, an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, was a target of a pipe bomb mailed to his Tribeca production office by fanatical Trump devotee Cesar Sayoc.
Tarter Krinsky & Drogin, the firm that represented Canal Productions in its state court lawsuit against Robinson, did not immediately respond to request for comment Thursday.Follow @jruss_jruss
Subscribe to Closing Arguments
Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.