Robert De Niro Admits to Calling Assistant ‘F*cking Spoiled Brat’ in Discrimination Trial

Throughout De Niro's five-hour testimony, he admitted to a lot of gross behavior.

Robert De Niro Admits to Calling Assistant ‘F*cking Spoiled Brat’ in Discrimination Trial
Photo:David Dee Delgado (Getty Images)

In 2019, Graham Chase Robinson—who was Robert De Niro’s assistant for 11 years, as well as vice president of his company, Canal Productions—sued the acclaimed actor for gender discrimination, wage theft and retaliatory behavior. De Niro’s company then filed a counterclaim against Robinson for improper spending, alleging she used tens of thousands of dollars of company money for personal reasons. The dueling suits are finally now being heard in Manhattan federal court for the first time—and it’s not pretty.

“The whole case is nonsense. It’s absurd. But I’m here!” De Niro told the court when he took the stand on Tuesday, responding pretty much exactly how you’d expect a high-powered 80-year-old man would when questioned for his behavior.

“Robert De Niro is someone who has clung to old mores,” Robinson’s complaint states, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The filing claims that Robinson was prompted to perform “stereotypically female job duties that were inconsistent with her job title,” including mending clothing and doing laundry. Robinson also accused De Niro of making “vulgar, inappropriate and gendered comments” to her, underpaying her based on her gender, and referring to her as a “spoiled brat” in a voicemail when she didn’t answer a phone call.

“He does not accept the idea that men should treat women as equals,” the complaint states. “He does not care that gender discrimination in the workplace violates the law. Ms. Robinson is a casualty of this attitude.”

During his five hour testimony, De Niro confirmed he had asked Robinson to scratch his back twice when he couldn’t reach a particular spot, declaring to the court: “You got me!” (He said that “it was never done with any disrespect.”) He also admitted to asking Robinson to Uber him a martini from Nobu, calling her a “fucking spoiled brat” in a voicemail, and interrupting her grandmother’s funeral via phone call so she could purchase his teenage son a bus ticket.

“So?” he replied when prompted about the latter incident in court. “If I did then I did,” before saying it actually might have been a wake and that Robinson said she could talk.

“It’s not like it’s a funeral where they’re putting the body into the ground, or whatever,” he said.

De Niro was also prompted whether Robinson was a source of contention in his relationship with his partner, Tiffany Chen, who pressured him to fire Robinson, according to emails shown in court.

“If you keep [Robinson] you and I will have problems,” Chen wrote to De Niro via email. She also referred to Robinson as “fucking rude” and a “dismissive bitch.” By 2019, Chen had become so suspicious of Robinson that she asked De Niro’s accountants to look into her spending habits. The same day Chen sent that request via email, Robinson left her job, writing to De Niro that she had been a loyal employee. Robinson is now seeking $12 million in damages for severe emotional distress and reputational harm.

As for the allegations against Robinson, De Niro’s lawsuit claims that she stole millions of De Niro’s frequent flyer miles, misappropriated funds, and binge-watched “astounding hours of TV shows” while on the job.

“The whole case is nonsense, it’s ridiculous,” De Niro said. “I wanted my things back, that’s all I’m asking. Return my things, return my air miles. Enough is enough.”

The trial is reportedly expected to last until November 10.

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