Robert De Niro is firing back at an "absurd" lawsuit brought against him by a former employee. Graham Chase Robinson filed papers in Manhattan federal court Thursday alleging she was the victim of "gratuitous unwanted physical contact" from De Niro.
She also claimed the Joker actor made "sexually-charged comments to her" while she worked at his production company, Canal Productions Inc.
In a statement to Yahoo Entertainment, a lawyer for the Oscar-winning actor says, "The allegations made by Graham Chase Robinson against Robert De Niro are beyond absurd."
In the lawsuit, which was obtained by Page Six, Robinson claims the Oscar-winning actor treated her as his "office wife" and made her do "stereotypically female duties, like housework" while underpaying her and denying her overtime. Robinson started at the company in 2008 as the actor's personal assistant before rising to the position of Vice President of Production & Finance.
"Robert De Niro is someone who has clung to old mores. He does not accept the idea that men should treat women as equals," the suit states. "He does not care that gender discrimination in the workplace violates the law. Ms. Robinson is a casualty of this attitude."
Robinson, 37, alleges the 76-year-old actor "urinated during telephone calls" with her and would greet her wearing only his "pyjamas or a bathrobe," the complaint says. "Among other things, De Niro would direct Ms. Robinson to scratch his back, button his ties and prod him awake when he was in bed," the suit adds. "De Niro also stood idly by while his friend slapped Ms. Robinson on her buttocks."
The lawsuit also includes a recording De Niro allegedly left her when she didn't answer his call: "You f***ing don’t answer my calls? How dare you! You’re about to be fired. You’re f***ing history."
Robinson is seeking $12 million (£9.6 million) for gender discrimination and wage violations.
De Niro and his production company sued Robinson for $3 million in April alleging she stole from the company — and stole the actor's frequent flyer miles — while also binge-watching "astounding hours" of Netflix at work. Robinson claims that suit was brought in retaliation after she had threatened to sue the actor first.