Canal Productions, the company owned by Robert De Niro, has been deemed liable in a gender discrimination trial filed by former employee Graham Chase Robinson, according to a verdict delivered by the jury on Thursday. Notably, Robert De Niro himself was not found liable in the case. The jury has awarded Robinson a total of $1,264,285.72 in both non-monetary and monetary damages to be paid by Canal Productions.
Specifically, Canal Productions was found responsible for gender discrimination and retaliation, leading to a mandated payment of $632,142.86 on each count. In contrast, Robinson was absolved of liability in the breach of fiduciary duty and loyalty during her tenure at Canal. Originally, Robinson had filed a lawsuit against both De Niro and Canal for $12 million, citing gender discrimination and retaliation. In response, she faced a $6 million countersuit for allegedly misappropriating thousands of dollars in sky miles to her personal account and charging the company for her personal expenses related to food and travel.
David Sanford, Robinson’s lawyer, expressed satisfaction with the jury’s decision, stating, “We are delighted that the jury saw what we saw and returned a verdict in Chase Robinson’s favor against Robert De Niro’s company, Canal Productions.” He highlighted the complete vindication of Robinson by the jury’s dismissal of De Niro’s claims against her.
Richard Schoenstein, De Niro’s lawyer, acknowledged the verdict’s correctness in relation to De Niro but refrained from commenting on behalf of Canal Productions or indicating whether an appeal was planned. Schoenstein mentioned that the legal team would likely scrutinize the awarded damages.
In her lawsuit, Robinson accused De Niro of using gendered language, such as calling her a “bitch,” and making inappropriate requests, including back scratching and tasks beyond her job description. Despite holding the title of vice president of development and finance at Canal Productions, Robinson asserted that she was relegated to clerical duties and treated as De Niro’s “office wife.”
During her testimony, Robinson characterized De Niro’s requests as “creepy” and “disgusting.” De Niro denied the allegations of workplace misconduct. Robinson resigned in 2019, claiming that her termination was influenced by disagreements with De Niro’s girlfriend, Tiffany Chen, over renovations to De Niro’s New York City townhouse.
Additionally, Robinson asserted wage disparity, alleging that a male colleague at Canal was paid more despite similar job responsibilities. De Niro disputed this, stating that the male employee, his personal trainer, had a longer tenure.
In a counterclaim, De Niro and his team accused Robinson of charging personal expenses to Canal Productions’ American Express card and transferring frequent flyer miles worth $450,000 to her personal account after resigning. Robinson refuted these claims, asserting an agreement with De Niro allowing her to use the miles and expense her meals and transportation during her employment.
Robinson also filed a retaliation claim against De Niro, alleging his refusal to provide recommendation letters for her business school applications, failure to pay severance, and concerns about the impact on her entertainment industry career due to his lawsuit.