Robert De Niro made surprising revelations on the witness stand for the civil trial involving his former assistant, Graham Chase Robinson, in New York City.
During his testimony on Tuesday, the 80-year-old actor admitted to berating Robinson and using derogatory terms to describe her according to a report by People.
“Yeah, fine, I berated her,” he said as he testified in reference to an incident where Robinson didn’t wake him in time for an important meeting. He further acknowledged calling her “petulant,” “snippy,” and a “fucking spoiled brat.” He clarified, “I’ve raised my voice. I didn’t yell. You wanna dispute that? That’s one thing I don’t do.”
The trial aims to resolve lawsuits between De Niro’s company, Canal Productions, and Robinson. In 2019, the company filed a $6 million lawsuit against Robinson, alleging excessive Netflix watching during work, unauthorized expenses, taking possession of frequent flyer miles, and misuse of funds. In her $12 million counter-lawsuit, Robinson accused the actor of verbal abuse and the production company of gender discrimination and pay disparity.
Robinson alleged that De Niro made sexist comments, assigned her stereotypically female tasks that didn’t match her job title, and paid her less than male employee, Dan Harvey, who had worked as the actor’s personal trainer for films dating back to 1991.
“What does Dan Harvey have to do with her? God knows why she felt like she should make the same [salary]. Dan Harvey has been here for 40 years, left his family, never complained. She is jealous of him?” De Niro said. “Give me a break with that nonsense… For her to use that is so ridiculous.”
Regarding instances when he allegedly asked Robinson to scratch his itching back, the actor outburst, saying, “Every little thing she’s trying to get me on is nonsense! Shame on you, Chase Robinson.” He apologized for the outburst shortly after.
The trial also involves evidence from emails and texts between De Niro and his girlfriend, Tiffany Chen. De Niro previously stated that Chen “might have been saying” disrespectful things about Robinson. He added, “But she was annoyed because Robinson was disrespectful to her. Period. And that is unacceptable.”
De Niro had previously claimed that the former assistant had blackmailed him with a list of undisclosed demands and allegedly threatened to write a tell-all book if her demands weren’t met.