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Hollywood Reporter—Eriq Gardner Five years ago, when Eric Glatt became an intern for the movie Black Swan, he hardly fit the usual description of one. He was 40, had an MBA and was employed for years in the financial sector, including at insurance giant AIG. When the economic crisis hit, Glatt decided to pursue his passion for entertainment. He took a film editing course, got certified, and, through his alumni network at Wesleyan University, found out that the new Darren Aronofsky movie needed interns. For some, the opportunity to be a part of a film that would gross $330 million…
foxbusiness.com—By Christina Couch Ever since the "'Black Swan' case," wherein two unpaid interns who worked on Darren Aronofsky's iconic film sued Fox Searchlight Pictures for violating Department of Labor regulations, many companies have made serious changes to their internship programs. While there are less exploitive internship than there used to be (several programs shut down following the fiasco), many still exist, leaving it up to students to do their research. Students must learn to avoid bad internships and to take action if they find themselves in an illegal program. Before starting an internship program, make sure you know where you…

The Great Intern Revolt

Monday, 30 June 2014
Capital New York — By Peter Sterne The great media-world intern revolt didn’t arise from an army of underpaid fashion-closet assistants, coffee-order-takers and instant-news-rewrite bloggers suddenly storming the castle in fury. It began when a 40-something who’d built himself a comfortable career in finance read an article in The New York Times. In April 2010, Eric Glatt had already quit his job at AIG to pursue his first love—film. He had received certification in the art of film editing and was working as an unpaid intern on Fox Searchlight Production’s film, Black Swan. Then he came across the Times article…
Forbes--Susan Adams This spring luxury shoes and accessories company Salvatore Ferragamo posted an unpaid internship listing on LinkedIn. “Retail Intern for its New York Flagship Store,” it reads. “This position will provide a valuable learning experience for those interested in the day-to-day operations of a luxury goods environment.” Really? “90-95% of the time will be spent on the sales floor working with product, sales associates and answering client questions when possible,” it goes on to say. The interns don’t ring up sales, but instead walk around and presumably try to convince shoppers to buy shoes, scarves and jewelry. They also…
ProPublica—By Kara Brandeisky At ProPublica, we've heard from a lot of unpaid interns. You've told us about walking your boss's dog, fact-checking for magazines and even doing the same work as federal prosecutors — all for little or no pay. If you think you might be entitled to minimum wage for your work, you have legal options. Here are a few resources you should know about. Let's start with the obvious — you can appeal to your employer directly for wages. If you go that route, know the U.S. Department of Labor's rules. The Labor Department says if you are…
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…
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