Robert De Niro Sues Former Employee for Watching Friends Too Much

In recent years, Netflix has become a dominant player in the pop culture landscape -- and it looks like that had a negative effect on one of Robert De Niro's employees. According to a report from Variety, De Niro's loan-out company Canal Productions is suing a former employee for multiple charges, including binge-watching Netflix while at work.

The suit states that the employee, Chase Robinson, rarely showed up in the office, and would spend "astronomical amounts of time" watching Netflix during work hours. The company alleges that Robinson watched 55 episodes of Friends during a single four-day period in January. She also allegedly watched 20 episodes of Arrested Development and 10 episodes of Schitt's Creek over a four-day period in March.

“Watching shows on Netflix was not in any way part of or related to the duties and responsibilities of Robinson’s employment and, on information and belief, was done for her personal entertainment, amusement and pleasure at times when she was being paid to work,” the suit alleges.

The suit also accuses Robinson of embezzling money, through racking up significant hotel and restaurant charges, and even using millions of De Niro's frequent flyer miles for her personal travels. The suit alleges that Robinson made over $12,000 in charges at Paola's Restaurant over a two-year period, $8,923.20 at Dean and Deluca and Whole Foods, and $32,000 for rideshares and taxis.

Robinson had initially been brought on as De Niro's assistant in 2008, and was ultimately promoted to "vice president of production and finance" at Canal Productions. She reportedly left the company in April of this year, after initially being accused of these claims.

Word of this firing - and the fact that it mentions buzzworthy shows such as Friends - has gotten quite a lot of attention online. The news comes as Friends is set to leave Netflix in early 2020, to be part of the launch of the HBO Max streaming service.

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“HBO Max will bring together the diverse riches of WarnerMedia to create programming and user experiences not seen before in a streaming platform. HBO’s world-class programming leads the way, the quality of which will be the guiding principle for our new array of Max Originals, our exciting acquisitions, and the very best of the Warner Bros. libraries, starting with the phenomenon that is ‘Friends,’” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman, WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-To-Consumer. “Under the leadership of two of the strongest creative visionaries — Casey Bloys (HBO) and Kevin Reilly (original content and acquisitions) — and two of the most experienced digital experts — Tony Goncalves and Andy Forssell — I have no doubt they and their dedicated teams will deliver the world’s best storytelling to audiences of all ages wherever and whenever they want it.”

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