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She Was on a Break: Robert De Niro is Suing an Ex-Employee Over Watching ‘Friends’ Re-runs At Work

By Kate Hudson | Celebrity | August 20, 2019 |

By Kate Hudson | Celebrity | August 20, 2019 |


Oh man, how much of a bonehead do you have to be to muck up your $300,000 a year gig at Robert De Niro’s production company?

A massive, massive bonehead, if you were looking for a quantifiable answer here, friends.

Yes, as you may have heard today, Robert De Niro’s production company, Canal Productions, is suing a former employee for $6 million dollars for bingeing Friends on the clock, among other things. (Insert “On a break” joke, here. Come on, you know you want to. I did it in the headline and it felt good.)

You can read the whole story here, at, but you can also stick around and I’ll summarize it for you because I paint a picture real good with my words.

So, as someone who goofed off a lot at work when I had a regular 9-to-5, I can tell you what you’re already thinking: yes, there is more to the story than De Niro suing someone for $6 million for streaming tv at work. A lot more.

See, the employee in question used the coffers of Canal as their own personal entitlement piggy bank, and what she chose to spend their money on is fascinating.

Per the article:

The suit, which was filed on Aug. 16, alleges that she spent $12,696.65 in unauthorized charges at Paola’s Restaurant over the course of two years, on top of $8,923.20 at Dean and Deluca and Whole Foods.

She also spent $32,000 on Ubers and taxis, according to the documents, and bought herself a $1,311.94 flower arrangement for her birthday.

I cannot get over the fact that someone saw a $1300+ bouquet of flowers, and thought to themselves: “Yes, that is absolutely a reasonable thing to have my company buy me on their credit card. Don’t mind if I do!” I honestly don’t understand how a floral arrangement could possibly cost that much, but that’s probably why I haven’t been sued for stealing from anyone. Also, stealing is wrong. It makes you a jerk. Hot take alert!

Want more f*ckery? You got it, friends!

During one four-day period in January, she allegedly watched 55 episodes of Friends. In another four-day period during March, Canal claims she watched 20 episodes of Arrested Development and 10 episodes of Schitt’s Creek.

So, I did the math—55 times 21 (the approximate average length of a Friends episode) that’s 1,155 minutes, which translates to 19.25 hours of Friends. Divide that four 4, and you’ve got 4.81 hours spent viewing TV, a day, on your work’s dime watching Friends. Not a bad way to earn a living, right? Well, earn is a strong word…steal, perhaps? Also, I’m guessing it was only 4 days that week since she took the Friday off because work was really taxing for her and she deserved a break. I mean, I can’t verify that but it would explain why she didn’t spend five days watching Friends, instead of four.

Eventually, this all caught up to the employee in question, and De Niro (I mean, I’m sure legally speaking it’s the company, but saying it’s him, personally, is a better mental image so let’s go with it) is suing her for $6 million dollars because she sucks. Although in legal terms, they’re calling it “disloyalty and violation of the faithless servant doctrine” which, fair. It’s that, too.

Honestly, I still can’t wrap my head around making $300,000 and stealing to the extent she did. When you make that much money, presumably you can afford your own thousand dollar plus bouquet! Why steal and muck up a perfectly good job? That’s just dumb.

Anyway, as much as I like Friends and think it’s better than Seinfeld, that show isn’t worth losing a job over. Also, I bet Robert De Niro hates that ex-employee now, so good luck ever getting back on his holiday card list, madam. She done burned that bridge but good!


This has been your Robert De Niro/Friends show update. It will probably be awhile before news pops up that combines the two again, so enjoy this one for a bit. Thank you and good night.

Kate is a staff contributor. You can follow her on Twitter.

Header Image Source: Getty