Robert De Niro, Tiffany Chen.Arnold Jerocki/Getty Images for Air Mail/Warner Brothers Discovery
Robert De Niro’s girlfriend, Tiffany Chen, took the stand against his former assistant Graham Chase Robinson.
Chen testified against Robinson on Thursday, November 2, the fourth day of De Niro’s gender discrimination trial in New York City. De Niro, 80, and his production company, Canal Productions, initially sued Robinson, 41, in 2019 for allegedly spending thousands of dollars of the company’s money, binge-watching Netflix on the job and transferring hundreds of thousands of dollars in airline miles to her personal account, per the New York Times.
In response, Robinson countersued De Niro in 2019 and accused the actor of being an abusive boss while she worked for him from 2008 to 2019. (Robinson started as an assistant for De Niro before eventually getting promoted to vice president of production and finance in 2018. She ultimately resigned one year later.)
During her Thursday testimony, Chen claimed that Robinson was “mean-spirited,” “nasty to people” and a “pretty horrible person” while employed by De Niro, according to Entertainment Tonight. A series of text messages between Chen and De Niro about Robinson were also shared aloud while Chen was on the stand.
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“You know, and agree that she’s been deliberately unkind, inappropriate and a straight-up bitch,” Chen’s message read.
Chen’s texts also allegedly accused Robinson of being “so out of line and lost in her fantasy” and was only interested in “his credit card, not him.”
“If you keep her, you and I will eventually have problems,” Chen wrote to De Niro before Robinson left her job.
Robert De Niro.David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
Chen’s testimony echoed similar sentiments that De Niro shared while he was on the stand earlier that week. The Killers of the Flower Moon star appeared in court on Monday, October 30, and claimed that Robinson had an “imaginary intimacy” with him and that Chen was suspicious of her behavior.
“She felt there was something there and she may have been right,” De Niro recalled of his girlfriend’s observations. Robinson’s attorney, Andrew Macurdy, denied any romance speculation between his client and the Oscar winner.
In Robinson’s lawsuit, she claimed that De Niro yelled at her, called her names and made sexist remarks during her tenure. After quitting in 2019, Macurdy said Robinson has been unable to find work and is afraid to leave her home. She is suing for $12 million in emotional damages and harm against her reputation.
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While on the stand, De Niro reportedly seemed aggravated during the trial and raised his voice twice during his testimony, per the Associated Press.
In Robinson’s filing from October 2019, she stated she had to perform “demanding duties” for De Niro including buttoning his shirts, scratching his back and cleaning his apartment, according to NBC News. Robinson also referred to her former boss as “someone who has clung to old mores,” adding, “He does not accept the idea that men should treat women as equals. He does not care that gender discrimination in the workplace violates the law.”