Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Unpaid interns suing makers of Black Swan over the inherent suckiness of being an unpaid intern

Illustration for article titled Unpaid interns suing makers of Black Swan over the inherent suckiness of being an unpaid intern

For far too long, young people have been suckered into unpaid internships where they are granted the opportunity to work in proximity to their dream career, but only in exchange for performing menial, repetitive tasks, all simply because they are completely unqualified to do anything else. It’s an all-too-common experience that occurs in every business where someone might actually want to work someday—everywhere except at The A.V. Club, where our interns are far too busy reenacting old Star Trek episodes for our amusement to do anything even close to an actual "task"—but it’s an exploitation for which Alex Footman and Eric Glatt, intern civil rights pioneers, are no longer going to stand.


Footman and Glatt (coincidentally, also the name of 1919’s second-most hated vaudeville duo) have filed a lawsuit against Fox Searchlight on behalf all unpaid interns, calling them out for all the indignities they suffered while working as interns on the production of Black Swan. Though drawn in by Hollywood glamour and the chance to become a vital part of the Dream Factory, the plaintiffs claim that they were instead forced to undertake nothing but “grunt work,” and failed to learn anything other than how unfair life is. And as clearly stated in this sub-clause, they already knew that.

Specifically, Footman, a 2009 film school graduate, complains that his duties included “preparing coffee for the production office, ensuring that the coffee pot was full, taking and distributing lunch orders for the production staff, taking out the trash and cleaning the office.” Glatt, a 42-year-old AIG employee who volunteered to work as an accounting intern, was handed the demeaning job of “preparing documents for purchase orders and petty cash, traveling to the set to obtain signatures on needed documents, and creating spreadsheets to track missing documents in each production employee’s personnel file.”

As you can see, at no time were either Footman and Glatt invited to step in behind the camera for director Darren Aronofsky to "give it a whirl," consulted on ideas for script revisions, or given the chance for a meaningful chat with Natalie Portman, aside from, presumably, that time she pointed and laughed at Footman and called him “Trash Bags.” “Hey, Trash Bags! Takin’ out the trash again?” Portman no doubt said, as she sped away cackling in her movie star convertible. Thus thoroughly humiliated, “incensed” (in Glatt's words), and hoping to eradicate this ugly practice from all corners of every industry, the two have now launched their case as a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all unpaid interns everywhere, unpaid interns who should stop reading this website and get moving, as that latte isn’t going to fetch itself. [via Movieline]