Actor Robert De Niro’s girlfriend did not mince her words on the witness stand on Thursday, describing his former assistant—who’s suing him for allegedly being an abusive boss—as “obsessive, psychotic, and dangerous.”
Tiffany Chen, who shares a 6-month-old with the Oscar-winning actor, hurled several insults at Graham Chase Robinson as she testified in Manhattan federal court about the ex-assistant’s 11-year employment with De Niro.
“She was very strange from the beginning and always uncomfortable to be around," Chen said, later describing her as “mean-spirited and bitchy.” “She was a hot mess. Her schedule was off all the time,” she added, according to People.
Chen’s testimony came on the fourth day of the civil trial, where eight jurors are tasked with derailing the validity of two lawsuits about Robinson’s employment. Robinson, in a $12 million gender discrimination lawsuit, alleges that De Niro mistreated her and subjected her to unwanted physical contact, a grueling work schedule, verbal harassment, and vulgar comments. She quit her job as De Niro’s vice president of production and finance in 2019 after an alleged dispute with Chen.
De Niro and his company also filed a lawsuit against Robinson, arguing that she used the corporate card on personal vacations and other expenses. That lawsuit also alleges that Robinson binge-watched Netflix on the job and transferred almost $450,000 in frequent-flier miles to her personal account after she quit. Both De Niro and Robinson have denied the allegations against them.
Earlier this week, De Niro testified about his workplace policies, which included arranging his travel and organizing his schedule. Chen also testified that Robinson had to do “whatever” De Niro asked of her, but stressed that all of his requests were “within professional reasoning.”
“He would direct her and she would delegate to other people,” Chen said, according to People.
While Chen said that she made an effort to get along with Robinson when they first met in 2018, over the years their relationship became strained. Part of that reason, Chen said in text messages shown in court, was that she believed Ronbinson had an “imaginary intimacy” with De Niro and believed she was the actor’s wife.
“This whole situation has become very Single White Female,” Chen wrote in one text message shown in court, referring to the lead character in the 1992 psychological thriller.
The Independent reported that when she asked to elaborate, Chen said she was referring to a woman who is “obsessive, crazy, and dangerous.” “She was attached to the control she thought she had in this dynamic.”
De Niro, however, testified on Tuesday that the job wasn’t always glamorous. He admitted he made Robinson his emergency contact, asked her to scratch his back in a hard-to-reach spot, called Robinson a “spoiled brat,” and once asked her for a late-night Nobu martini. Still, De Niro insisted on the stand that he was never abusive toward Robinson.
“She implies that she’s out in front of the building on her knees, scrubbing the floor,” he said on Tuesday. “There was never any lewdness, or disrespect, or weirdness that you’re trying to imply.”