Black Swan Interns Are Fed Up With Internships

Being an intern in an entertainment industry pretty much sucks, no doy. The internships are almost exclusively unpaid and they almost exclusively consist of the jobs that the people who are being paid would rather not do, because they are not interns anymore. Mainly they’re only things to complain about for a few months and then put on your resume so you can maybe get paid next time, hopefully by one of the people you met while on your internship. A Duh Aficionado exclusive: That is what an entertainment industry internship is. But two former Black Swan interns are FED UP with that practice and filing a lawsuit. From The New York Times:

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, claims that Fox Searchlight Pictures, the producer of Black Swan, had the interns do menial work that should have been done by paid employees and did not provide them with the type of educational experience that labor rules require in order to exempt employers from paying interns.

Not that this isn’t a fair thing to be upset about. It does break actual laws that exist. And it’s fine for people to stick up for themselves when people break laws on them (correct way to say?). Especially considering the tasks they had one of them, age 24, perform during his production internship:

One plaintiff, Alex Footman, a 2009 Wesleyan graduate who majored in film studies, said his responsibilities 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.

Noooooooooooooooooo! Who was running this set, NATALIE PORTMAN’S MOM FROM BLACK SWAN? Alex goes on to say, “The only thing I learned on this internship was to be more picky in choosing employment opportunities.” Obviously. Right now that is what every 24-year-old college graduate is saying, that they have to be more picky in choosing their employment opportunities. I hope he settles his lawsuit for thirty tribillion dollars. The other guy included in the lawsuit is a 42-year-old accounting guy who took an accounting internship on the movie because he wanted to move into film accounting.

The other named plaintiff, Eric Glatt, 42, prepared documents for purchase orders and petty cash, traveled to the set to obtain signatures on documents and created spreadsheets to track missing information in employee personnel file.

Haha, oh noooooooo, whaaaaaat?! For real, I don’t understand this case. They’re trying to say they didn’t learn enough and should’ve been paid because they were doing too much work to not be paid and also not learn. But, first, old accounting guy — You probably already knew a good amount? You’re very old and you have been doing accounting things for a long time. And it doesn’t look like the things they asked you to handle were too difficult. And you knew you were taking an unpaid internship merely for the purpose of obtaining contacts in an industry you wanted to break into. I don’t understand what your problem is. And young guy, YOU ARE CLEARLY THE WORST. What did you expect to be doing? Honestly? Please email me what you expected to be doing because I can’t even guess.

The kind of most annoying thing about this lawsuit is that they’re acting like they’re sacrificing their futures in the film industry to stand up for the rights of unpaid interns. And I’m certainly all for standing up for the rights of unpaid interns who are taken advantage of at their internships, and I do believe that happens a lot. But it doesn’t seem like it happened in this case, really? I’M NO JUDGE. Certainly. All I did was read an article. But it seems like they’re doing more to hurt the cause than to help it. Normal shitty internships are great! People need those! They really do help a lot of the time! Stop trying to take normal shitty internships away! And also stop trying to water down cases of interns who are actually taken advantage of! Everything you are both doing is wrong. And old person, you should have probably just applied for an accounting job that would have actually paid you on a smaller movie. You probably would have gotten it. I don’t know why you left your actual job and applied for an unpaid internship on Black Swan. That was dumb. I rest my case.