Former De Niro employee sues 'to send a message,' attorney says

Robert De Niro wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera

After the Academy Award victor took his former executive assistant to court for $6 million over allegedly embezzling company funds, Graham Chase Robinson hit back with her own lawsuit on Thursday (October 3). Robinson alleges the movie star De Niro threatened her when she tried to resign and that a lawsuit filed against her by his company Canal Productions is an act of retaliation. "He does not accept the idea that men should treat women as equals", the suit says. She says De Niro made sexually charged comments, was verbally abusive and treated her as his "office wife" while she was an executive assistant and eventual vice president.

"De Niro also underpaid Ms. Robinson based on her gender". "To defend his conduct, De Niro invoked gender-laden stereotypes and implied that a male breadwinner deserved more pay than Ms. Robinson, a woman without children".

Robinson goes on to say that in April, she submitted her resignation and had her attorney tell De Niro's team that she was contemplating a lawsuit that would address De Niro's gender discrimination and wage violations.

"He would joke with Ms. Robinson about his Viagra prescription".

De Niro stayed largely silent as the #MeToo scandal unfolded previous year, claiming "I don't witness that stuff too much" and musing that he must have been "naive" not to realize how common sexual exploitation was in Hollywood.

Robinson also accuses De Niro of routinely assigning her job duties that were "stereotypically female", such as putting away his boxer shorts, hanging up his clothes, washing his sheets, vacuuming his apartment, mending his clothes and selecting gifts for his kids.

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According to the lawsuit, he sometimes directed Robinson to scratch his back, button his shirts, fix his collars, tie his ties and wake him up when he was in bed after hiring her in 2008 when she was 25 and aspiring to a career in the entertainment industry.

According to court documents previously obtained by PEOPLE, Robinson allegedly ran up huge gratuities bills on the company American Express card and spent "astronomical amounts of time" watching Netlix when she was supposed to be working.

"De Niro also stood idly by while his friend slapped Ms Robinson on her buttocks".

Robinson's suit denies those claims and alleges that De Niro had personally approved the transactions in question.

In a state-court lawsuit in mid-August, Canal Productions sought to recover damages "from a disloyal employee" who was accused of "repeatedly and methodically" abusing her position of trust to embezzle funds. Robinson also denies that she "loafed" or "binge-watched" during work hours.

Representatives for De Niro did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.

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