The evidence from Robert De Niro's court battle with ex-assistant11/05/2023
The juiciest evidence from Robert De Niro’s court battle with ex-assistant Chase Robinson including his texts with furious girlfriend Tiffany Chen
- De Niro is being sued by Robinson, who worked for him for 11 years
- Evidence includes texts and emails between them and from De Niro’s girlfriend
- She was furious about the ‘imaginary intimacy’ Robinson thought she shared with her partner
- Robinson is seeking $12million from the actor
‘The balls, the nerve, the chutzpah, the sense of entitlement… who the f**k does she think she is?’
Those are the words Robert De Niro hammered furiously in a text message to his girlfriend in 2019 after his assistant Chase Robinson demanded a generous severance package and press release as she left her job of 11 years alleging mistreatment.
How flabbergasted he must be now then that the pair are in court, airing their dirty laundry, as a jury decides if he did indeed discriminate against her because she is a woman.
Robinson is suing for $12million, claiming the legendary actor berated and belittled her despite promoting her and offering a generous $300,000-a-year salary the likes of which most assistants can only dream of.
The texts are buried in a trove of emails and correspondence between De Niro, Chen and Robinson as they tried to negotiate her departure from the actor’s employ in 2019.
Chase Robinson, spotted today at Manhattan Federal Court. She is suing former boss Robert DeNiro
Robert De Niro and his girlfriend Tiffany Chen were also concerned with Chase Robinson’s spending
In text messages to his girlfriend in July 2019, Robert De Niro fumes over his assistant Chase Robinson’s list of demands after she handed in her notice effective immediately
In an email to De Niro, his girlfriend Tiffany Chen, furious that Robinson blamed the friction on their relationship, said: ‘This b***ch needs to be put in her f*****g place’
Now, they are at the heart of the civil case currently unfolding in a Manhattan courtroom where today, De Niro lost his cool this week.
‘Shame on you!’ he screamed at Robinson earlier in the week after being roasted by her attorneys.
So far, he has admitted berating her, calling her a ‘brat’ and occasionally a ‘b***ch’, and confessed to calling her at her grandmother’s funeral to ask her to book his son a bus ticket.
When confronted with the latter transgression, De Niro replied: ‘So?’
His other alleged offenses; asking Robinson to scratch his back and having her order him a martini from Nobu at 11pm via Uber Eats.
‘You got me!’ De Niro, dripping in sarcasm, said in court.
Robinson testified about his ‘creepy’ requests that she scratch his back – ‘I like the way you do it’ – and becoming frustrated at having to run errands for not just him, but also his girlfriend and children.
The actor would forget anniversaries and birthdays, she complained, and she was at his beck and call ’24/7, 365 days a year.’
While the courtroom theatrics have been entertaining, the juiciest dialogue comes from the evidence.
It is there that the root of the tension appears to lie.
Robinson, haughty after convincing her boss to name her president of a production studio, started refusing to perform tasks she believed were beneath her.
Chen, the mother of De Niro’s seventh child and in no mood to take cues from her famous partner’s flunkies, believed Robinson had a crush.
‘She thinks she’s your wife. I saw it from the beginning,’ she told De Niro in one text.
In court this week, Chen described an ‘imagined intimacy’ she held says Robinson held for her partner, labeling her a ‘psychotic single woman’.
‘She was very strange from the beginning and always uncomfortable to be around.
‘She was a hot mess. Her schedule was off all the time,’ she said, blasting her as ‘mean-spirited’ and ‘bitchy.’
April 2019: Robinson blames the tense relationship on Tiffany. She refers to problems with ‘Grace’ – a presumed reference to De Niro’s former partner, with whom she said she also had tension
By July 2019, Robinson was making demands. She said they’d been agreed upon months earlier. Among her demands was $600,000 over two years
She also demanded reimbursement of legal expenses to review her severance package
Robinson wanted De Niro to issue a press release confirming that she quit and was not fired
Robinson worked for the actor between 2008 and July 2019 when, after many months of fraught back-and-forths with Chen, she stopped work abruptly.
At the center of the dispute is also Robinson’s spending.
De Niro says she misappropriated money, awarding herself five million Delta Airmiles from his account, misusing credit cards and racing through cash.
It seems the wheels came off when she was asked to oversee and assist with renovations on the couple’s townhouse.
Paint, specifically, was the problem, though Robinson didn’t consider it hers.
She told Chen to take it up with another employee – a suggestion that incensed her.
‘Maybe you should make a new guide for both Bob and myself, this way he and I know what you have determined your responsibilities to be.
‘It’s becoming increasingly difficult to understand what [you] do or don’t do. What you will vs what you don’t do,’ she fumed.
In a March 2019 email, Robert De Niro’s girlfriend Tiffany Chen fumed over Robinson’s refusal to assist with a paint project in the couple’s townhouse renovation
By April 2019, Chen and De Niro were onto Robinson’s spending, demanding forensic breakdowns of how she spent company cash and firing others who they felt pandered to her
An enraged Chen learned in March 2019 that Robinson had been telling housekeepers they would be working for her boss, a ‘single man’
Prior to firing her, Chen railed against Lulu White, a former Canal employee. ‘I’d like to remind you that we all work for Bob and you are not Chase’s assistant,’ she said
Happier times: Prior to 2019, Robinson thanked De Niro profusely for giving her the generous birthday gift of a trip. Other emails show how he waived others’ expenses like hotel stays
December 2016: Robinson asks firm accountant to deposit her ‘yearly’ bonus. The amount is not specified
Robinson texted De Niro often without response while she traveled with photos from her trips
The emails and texts paint a picture of an eager-to-please Robinson who regularly texted her boss with photos from her trips, expressing gratitude but also continuing to ask for more.
De Niro was generous, offering to pay her severance even though he ‘didn’t have to if she quit’, as his girlfriend pointed out.
He waved off the expensive hotel stay of another at The Greenwich Hotel from 2017 after Robinson seized on it, asking for his approval.
‘Did you approve Dan at the hotel? I wanted to make sure you were aware when he stays there and charges our AMEX account,’ she asked.
‘Not really, but leave it,’ he replied.
In others, she thanked him for the generous 35th birthday gift of an overseas trip.
She then bombarded him with photos from a different jaunt.
‘We’re booking a return trip here. That is *if* we ever come back,’ she joked.
De Niro told the court he operated on an ‘honor system’ with employees when it came to spending.
The civil trial is due to continue until November 10.
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