Already a member? Log In

De Niro and the Nastiest Assistant Legal Saga Ever

Robert De Niro texted his girlfriend, regarding his former assistant: “The balls, the nerve, the chutzpah, the sense of entitlement: how dare her!”
Robert De Niro texted his girlfriend, regarding his former assistant: “The balls, the nerve, the chutzpah, the sense of entitlement: how dare her!” Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for for CinemaCon
Eriq Gardner
June 19, 2023

In the annals of quirky stories, Robert De Niro’s $6 million lawsuit against his former assistant, Graham Chase Robinson, for binge-watching Friends on the job, left many amused, if puzzled. But even back in 2019, when De Niro and his company sued, it was evident that there was more to the tale—especially when Robinson quickly filed her own lawsuit, claiming a toxic workplace culture for women, followed by the revelation that the legendary 79-year-old actor had attempted to convince the Manhattan District Attorney to bring a criminal case against her. 

Journalists like myself tread carefully at the time, given the sensitive landscape of the #MeToo movement and an opaque picture. What were the underlying motives? For the past four years, I’ve been following this surprisingly enduring case, and at last, I have finally unearthed some answers, courtesy of a 158-page summary judgment ruling, initially sealed and unveiled here for the first time. Based on depositions, contemporaneous emails and texts, audio recordings, and other documented evidence, it offers an exhaustive account of what transpired while also setting the stage for an intriguing, and even possibly historic, trial slated for late October.