Robert De Niro turned up the testy testimony Tuesday, at one point directly addressing the ex-assistant suing him for discrimination to exclaim in open court: “Shame on you, Chase Robinson!”
Multiple media reports indicated that the “Taxi Driver” actor’s demeanor was even saltier on Day 2 than Monday, when De Niro first took the stand in the civil trial before an eight-person Manhattan civil jury to testify in his own defense.
“The whole case is nonsense. It’s absurd. But I’m here!” De Niro said under questioning Tuesday, according to THR. Other De Niro quotes from his second turn on the stand included: “Give me a break with this nonsense,” “You got us all here for this?” and “Stop it … I don’t have time for this.”
But it was when one of Robinson’s attorneys asked De Niro whether he had mistreated Robinson by asking her to carry out demeaning or inappropriate tasks – like asking her to scratch his back – that the actor lost his cool.
“Shame on you, Chase Robinson!” he said directly to the plaintiff, who was sitting in the room.
De Niro is defending against a counter-claim from Robinson, a former vice president of production and finance at De Niro’s imprint Canal Productions. Her 2019 lawsuit was in response to a previous action De Niro filed accusing her of embezzlement, stealing frequent-flyer miles and spending excessive amounts of time watching “Friends” on Netflix while on the job.
Robinson began working for Canal in 2008 as an assistant, but upon becoming a vice president, she claims she was assigned to gender-stereotypical duties and subjected to unwanted physical contact and sexually charged comments.
Robinson’s original complaint says De Niro “treated her as though she was his ‘office wife,’” making her do demeaning domestic tasks like housework and buttoning the actor’s shirts, despite her executive title. She’s seeking $12 million in damages; he is seeking $6 million.
The same jury will also decide whether Robinson is liable in De Niro’s suit against her. The entire case is expected to last two weeks.