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The Los Angeles Times—By Daniel Miller and John Horn Melvin Mar's entrée to Hollywood was far from glamorous. As an unpaid intern for "Platoon" producer Arnold Kopelson, Mar was responsible for fetching his boss' lunch of matzo ball soup every day. Mar calculated to the minute how long it would take to walk from the production company's Century City offices to the Stage Deli nearby, buy the soup and decant it into a bowl on Kopelson's desk, still piping hot, at precisely 1 p.m. Mar parlayed his internship into jobs at DreamWorks and Scott Rudin Productions. * * * Uncompensated…
The Hollywood Reporter—Eriq Gardner Justin Swartz, who represents the plaintiffs in several class actions on the internship front, says the litigation is about "social justice." This summer, many entertainment studios and media companies are re-examining their internship programs in light of a judge’s ruling that Fox Searchlight had misclassified two unpaid workers on the film Black Swan. Justin Swartz, a partner at Outten & Golden, spearheaded the groundbreaking litigation against Fox as well as more recent lawsuits against NBCUniversal, Conde Nast, Hearst Corp. and other media companies. A co-chair of his firm’s class-action practice group, Swartz explains the goal of…
Class Action Law Monitor Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures Inc., No. 11-6784 (S.D.N.Y. June 11, 2013) In an action alleging nonpayment of wages through the misclassification of the plaintiffs as unpaid interns, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York concluded that the totality of the circumstances established that the plaintiffs were employees as a matter of law under federal and state wage laws. The case was appropriate for class action and collective action certification. Fox Entertainment Group Inc. (Fox) was the parent company of Fox Searchlight Pictures Inc. (Searchlight). Searchlight entered into production-distribution-finance agreements (production agreements)…
Bloomberg News—Jim Snyder and Christie Smythe By the time Ladan Nowrasteh got her master's degree in journalism, her resume was stacked with experience. Her bank account wasn't nearly as full. Like many students trying to get a leg up, Nowrasteh, 26, of suburban Falls Church, Va., worked a string of unpaid internships in college and graduate school. She often worked part-time jobs as well to pay for food and rent. "The value I was getting was nonmonetary," said Nowrasteh, who did seven unpaid internships as a student. "I wouldn't have gotten all that experience if I wasn't willing to work…
The New York Times An unpaid internship the summer after freshman year of college was one of the most valuable experiences of my life. I developed useful skills, built my résumé and learned I loved working for nonprofit public interest groups. Because of that summer, I applaud Judge William H. Pauley III’s decision that interns who are treated like regular workers must be paid minimum wage (“Judge Rules That Movie Studio Should Have Been Paying Interns,” Business Day, June 12). I could take terrific internships because my parents were wealthy and generous enough to support me while I worked for…
(CNN) -- In the fall of 2011, I was living at home in a suburb of Washington, freelancing as a grip on local productions ranging from news to corporate videos. It had been two years since I began a six-month internship in the Midtown Manhattan production office of "Black Swan," the only feature film I have worked on to date, when I received a call from my old co-worker Eric Glatt. At first, I was surprised to hear from him. We had hit it off as fellow interns from the start. We went to the same university and shared a…
forbes.com—Susan Adams Headlines this week about a federal judge’s ruling in an unpaid internship case are shining a light on the murky, confusing world of internships and making it clear that in most cases the law requires private employers to pay a minimum wage, even if the interns have voluntarily signed on to work for little or no money. On Tuesday a federal judge in New York ruled that Fox Searchlight Pictures broke federal labor law and New York state minimum wage laws when it employed two production interns, Eric Glatt and Alexander Footman, on the film Black Swan, for…
MSNBC—Chris Hayes Outten & Golden partner Rachel Bien appeared on MSNBC's All in with Chris Hayes, along side plaintiff Eric Glatt to discuss the the recent District Court ruling. A U.S. District Court Judge ruled in favor of interns and against Fox Searchlight Pictures because the intern's work on the movie "Black Swan" was that of an employee who should be compensated under the law and the Judge also certified a class action lawsuit. Chris Hayes talks with one of the plaintiffs in the case, his lawyer, and a labor expert on how this case could change the status of…
time.com—Ross Perlin Two years ago, they didn’t stand a chance. Two days ago, when I heard they had won, I dug the email out of my inbox: “I’ve been glad to read about your upcoming book, Intern Nation. I recently worked as one of approximately 20 illegally unpaid interns for the Oscar nominated film Black Swan.” The email was from Eric Glatt, a 41-year-old New Yorker who admitted that he fell “outside the norm” for an intern, with his two Master’s degrees and substantial career experience under his belt. Like many older interns in today’s labor market, he was transitioning…
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