Robert De Niro's company found liable for gender discrimination
LOS ANGELES - An American jury on Thursday found actor Robert De Niro’s production company liable for gender discrimination against a former employee who said she had been forced to perform “stereotypically female” jobs for the actor.
De Niro’s Canal Productions was ordered to pay US$1.3 million (S$1.8 million) to Ms Graham Chase Robinson, who said the Raging Bull (1980) star had ordered her to wash sheets, vacuum his apartment, and organise soirees even after she was promoted to senior roles at the company.
She accused the 80-year-old of unwanted physical contact and making sexually charged comments.
The damages awarded also covered Ms Robinson’s successful claim of retaliation. She claimed De Niro refused to write her recommendation letters or pay her severance.
The jury dismissed the original lawsuit filed by Canal Productions against Ms Robinson.
De Niro’s company had accused her of charging hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses to a company credit card, claiming millions of air miles for personal use, and binge-watching “astounding hours of TV shows on Netflix” on company time.
“We are delighted that the jury saw what we saw and returned a verdict in Chase Robinson’s favour against Robert De Niro’s company, Canal Productions,” her lawyer David Sanford wrote in a statement to AFP.
“Not only did Ms Robinson win her case against Canal, but the jury completely vindicated Ms Robinson by finding De Niro’s claims against her to be without merit.”
De Niro, who did not attend Thursday’s hearing, was not found individually liable.
Earlier in the two-week trial, he had testified that Ms Robinson’s claims were “nonsense”.
The jury deliberated for around five hours before returning their verdicts. - AFP