Interns Go Hard. Ask W Magazine, Atlantic Records + The New Yorker.


There really is a method to my madness. I know that as a small biz owner you are probably in need of cheap free labor. Recent cases have changed the intern game, probably forever.

Here is the scoop….

Fox Searchlight re: Black Swan

June 11- A couple of interns who worked with Fox Searchlight during the production of the movie Black Swan sued the film distribution company. They were unpaid interns who answered phones, got coffee for the big boys and ladies, and took out the trash.  A federal district court judge in New York ruled in the interns favor, finding that, “Searchlight received the benefits of their unpaid work, which otherwise would have required paid employees.” The interns are entitled to receive back pay.


Conde Nasté re: W Magazine and The New Yorker

June 13- Then, former interns for W magazine and The New Yorker filed suit in New York against the publisher Conde Nasté, and they are seeking class action certification. The interns’ claim is that the publisher paid wages less than $1 an hour. The New Yorker’s former intern alleges that he proofread and edited articles for publication, maintained the cartoon database, and researched and coordinated the work of cartoon artists. The W magazine intern alleges that she was “trained” by other interns, she worked 12 hour shifts, and duties included pulling accessories for editorial shoots, organizing, packing them and delivering to the editors.

Warner Music Group + Atlantic Records

June 17- A former intern filed a class action suit in New York against Warner Music Group and Atlantic Records. He alleges that there was no training. He also alleges that he often worked more than 40 hours per week, and that the work he performed should have been done by employees….but he was free labor, and the other employees were not.

 I’ll be honest. My gut reaction was…

 Well, damn.

On one hand, I am happy that these young people have the gall to stand up for their rights. But, on the other hand…these are dream jobs and the way that, most peeps get their foot in the door at companies like the ones being sued. Mixed feelings and all, what it means for people like you and me…we gotta have our ish together. No excuses.

Do the intern game right, or don’t do it at all.

Missed the convo from earlier this week? Check out here:

Want to follow all of the high-profile, unpaid intern cases, and read the court documents?

Check out ProPublica’s “Tracking Intern Lawsuits” project.

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