The actor was not present when the driver turned on the videographer who had been following De Niro's every move upon the star's arrival at the airport.
According to the New York Post, the man and the paparazzo hurled verbal abuse at each other and their spat ended with the driver spraying the cameraman in the face.
The videographer claims the alleged act was unprovoked.
As authorities investigate the incident, De Niro's publicist, Stan Rosenfield, suggests the videographer is to blame.
He tells news show Entertainment Tonight, "Isn't this the same photographer that had a problem with Woody Harrelson? If so, you do the math."
Harrelson attacked a paparazzo at the same airport last year (09). He later released a statement claiming he thought the guy was "a zombie".