Robert De Niro has been hit with a $12 million lawsuit accusing him of sexist workplace behavior via Variety. The lawsuit was filed by De Niro’s former employee Graham Chase Robinson, who was the vice president of production and finance at Canal Productions in 2017. De Niro filed a $6 million lawsuit against Robinson in August claiming she embezzled money from the company and binge-watched Netflix while on the job. De Niro’s lawsuit gained attention for one accusation claiming Robinson spent four days watching “Friends” instead of working.
Robinson’s $12 million lawsuit against De Niro claims the actor is “someone who has clung to old mores. 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 casuy of this attitude.”
The lawsuit alleges that “sexism and sex stereotyping were commonplace” in De Niro’s production office. De Niro allegedly used derogatory words such as “bitch” and “c-nt” when addressing Robinson and looked away when Robinson was spanked on the butt by a fellow employee. Robinson’s lawsuit also states that De Niro requested she “scratch his back, button his shirts, fix his collars, tie his ties, and prod him awake when he was in bed.”
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“De Niro took a page out of the Bill O'Reilly playbook,” the lawsuit states. “Before Ms. Robinson could sue, De Niro retaliated. He had Canal sue Ms. Robinson in New York County Supreme Court and ensured that the suit would be widely publicized. The lawsuit is replete with 'clickbait' allegations that falsely characterize Ms. Robinson as a loafer, a thief, and a miscreant. Now, when her name is Googled, these allegations pop up on the screen. The results have been devastating to Ms. Robinson. Her reputation and her career have been destroyed.”
The lawsuit against De Niro arrives just ahead of the nationwide theatrical release of the actor’s new film “Joker.” Warner Bros. is opening the movie in theaters October 4. Later this fall, Netflix will release De Niro’s other high profile drama “The Irishman,” directed by Martin Scrosese. IndieWire has reached out to De Niro’s representatives for further comment.
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar conversations around town bring differing opinions about what might win in an exceptional year for auteur cinema. It was surprising how many people add: boy would it be nice to see Martin Scorsese get an Oscar for his final mob epic, The Irishman. Sure he won for The Departed, but he got robbed on Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Raging Bull and Casino, those epics with Robert De Niro.
Scorsese shared with Deadline moments from those film collaborations with De Niro. Most know the hardship this film went through after De Niro and Scorsese decided to scrap a Paramount greenlit adaptation of the Don Winslow novel The Winter of Frankie Machine to instead make the film about union leader/hitman Frank Sheeran's deathbed regret over crimes that included the murder of his best friend, Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa. The Irishman allowed Scorsese and De Niro to focus on the regret and guilt that few mobsters in his earlier films conveyed.
Because it spanned decades, no studio would step up for the de-aging technology that pushed its budget to $160 million, until Netflix embraced it. What is surprising here is how much of a struggle they encountered on every movie Scorsese and De Niro made together.
DEADLINE: A documentary on fellow New York director Sidney Lumet traced how his filmmaking path was forged by watching soldiers pull a young girl on to a train to sexually abuse her, and when it was clear he might not survive an attempt to stop it, he did nothing. The guilt pressed Lumet to make movies about men who summon the courage to stand up for what is right no matter the cost, like in 12 Angry Men. I watched your films, from Silence to Mean Streets and wondered; what events in your own life informed the depictions of guilt, faith, and cowardice of the imperfect male characters in these films? Like the interpreter in Silence who asks for confession to forgive his latest betrayal, knowing full well he's going to do it again the next time he needs to save his own skin. All this began with the relationship between Harvey Keitel and De Niro's characters in Mean Streets.
MARTIN SCORSESE: But that character in Silence, he's really going to try not to [repeat the sin.] That's a difference. He says, I will pray to be stronger. I promise I'll be stronger. It's his condition. It's the human condition and that's such a complicated question. There are so many things I saw growing up...grown men in a male dominated world. There were good, hardworking, decent guys but there were many people around who had money in the street, as they say, and who were involved in real street corner underworld activity. Just thugs, but a lot of those thugs I basically knew as people first. I was eight years old.
Some were nice, some weren't. The ones who weren't, you...
Martin Scorsese’s frequent cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto said last December the tone of their next collaboration together, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” was still being worked out. Now comes word from Scorsese himself that the tone has been set and the project, based on David Grann's historical novel of the same name, will be the director’s first Western. “Killers of the Flower Moon” is Scorsese’s follow-up to “The Irishman,” which nabbed 10 Academy Award nominations this year. The project is set to star longtime Scorsese muses Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.
“We think it's a Western,” Scorsese tells Premiere of the film. “It happened in 1921-1922 in Oklahoma. There are certainly cowboys, but they have cars and also horses. The film is mainly about the Osage, an Indian tribe that was given horrible territory, which they loved because they said to themselves that Whites would never be interested in it. Then we discovered oil there and, for about ten years, the Osage became the richest people in the world, per capita. Then, as with the Yukon and the Colorado mining regions, the vultures disembark, the White man, the European arrives, and all was lost. There, the underworld had such control over everything that you were more likely to go to jail for killing a dog than for killing an Indian.”
Scorsese continues, “It's so interesting to think about the mentality that leads us to this. The history of civilization goes back to Mesopotamia. The Hittites are invaded by another people, they disappear, and later it is said that they have been assimilated or, rather, absorbed. It is fascinating to see this mentality which is reproduced in other cultures, through two world wars. And which is therefore timeless, I think. This is the film that we are going to try to make.”
David Grann's book centers around the Osage Nation murders, in which members of the Native American tribe were killed after discovering oil on their reservation. The murders attracted the attention of the newly-created FBI. Paramount Pictures boarded the project last June, bringing Scorsese back to a major Hollywood studio following his work on “The Irishman” with Netflix. Production on “Killers of the Flower Moon” is expected to begin this spring, making a 2021 release date most likely.