De Niro’s production empire, Canal Productions, has been found guilty of discrimination and retaliation against former assistant Graham Chase Robinson by a New York City jury.
Canal Productions, owned by actor Robert De Niro, was ordered to pay a hefty sum of $1.2 million to the former assistant after a two-week trial.
Robinson, who had worked closely with De Niro for several years, launched a suit in 2019, alleging harassment and wage violations. The former assistant claimed that her employer repeatedly made inappropriate remarks and assigned her tasks well below the scope of her role. De Niro, on his part, vehemently denied all allegations, asserting that he never acted inappropriately towards his assistant.
While De Niro's company was convicted, the actor himself was spared from personal liability. His lawyer viewed this as a victory, considering the claims leveled against De Niro. However, the court's verdict does place a blemish on the reputation of Canal Productions, a company De Niro holds dear.
Interestingly, the jury's decision absolved Robinson from countercharges for misusing company money and time. These countercharges, initiated by De Niro and his company, were dismissed, further cementing Robinson's victory in the trial.
Despite De Niro's attempts to downplay the severity of the situation, Robinson didn't hesitate to label him a "boss from hell" during the trial. This comment, along with the final verdict, paints a less-than-flattering picture of the inner workings of Canal Productions.
Robinson's attorney, Brent Hannafan, hailed the verdict as a complete vindication of his client's accusations. He expressed satisfaction over the jury's decision, which saw Robinson's claims validated and her reputation restored.
Brent Hannafan, Robinson's attorney, shared his thoughts on the verdict:
"The jury saw what Ms. Robinson saw and completely vindicated her. We’re thrilled with the verdict. Ms. Robinson is thrilled with the verdict. She feels vindicated."
On the flip side, De Niro maintained his innocence throughout the trial. When taking the stand, De Niro rejected Robinson's allegations, claiming them as "nonsense." He admitted to calling Robinson a derogatory name when she failed to wake him for an appointment but argued that this was not abusive behavior.
The verdict brings an end to a legal battle that spanned several years, dating back to Robinson's departure from Canal Productions in 2019. The outcome leaves a significant dent in De Niro's production company, both financially and reputationally.
Robinson's victory underlines the importance of workplace respect and equality and serves as a stark reminder for employers to treat their employees with dignity. It's a significant win for employees everywhere who have faced similar circumstances.
The case also underscores the potential consequences of disregarding employment laws, a lesson De Niro's company and others will likely take to heart.