Robert De Niro Accused of Gender Discrimination in $12M Counter-Lawsuit from Female Ex-Employee

The lawsuit reportedly claims that the actor "does not accept the idea that men should treat women as equals"

Robert De Niro
Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty

Robert De Niro has been accused of gender discrimination in a new $12 million counter-lawsuit from a female ex-employee.

Graham Chase Robinson alleges that the Oscar winner, 76, used sexist language and made suggestive jokes in her presence. Robinson also alleges that she was underpaid compared to her male colleagues and was often given “female duties like housework.”

“Robert De Niro is someone who has clung to old mores,” the lawsuit reads. “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. Ms. Robinson is a casualty of this attitude.”

De Niro’s attorney Tom Harvey said in a statement, “The allegations made by Graham Chase Robinson against Robert De Niro are beyond absurd.”

Robinson is the subject of an earlier $6 million lawsuit, in which she’s accused by De Niro’s company, Canal Productions, of binge-watching television on the job and embezzling money. She was first hired as an assistant to De Niro in 2008 and was later promoted to “Vice President of Production & Finance.”

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.

In her suit, Robinson claimed that the previous lawsuit came after her attorney had notified De Niro’s team that she was contemplating a lawsuit against the actor.

The new lawsuit comes as De Niro is starring in two major upcoming films: Joker, hitting theaters on Friday, and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, for which he is already earning Oscar buzz.

The three-and-a-half-hour epic tale, heading to Netflix later this year, stars De Niro as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a real-life hustler and hitman who served as an American labor union official and later confessed to the killing of Teamster labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa.

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