After a judge ruled earlier this month that a number of unpaid interns at the film company Fox Searchlight should be paid, three former interns at Gawker Media LLC filed suit against the left-wing website:
[F]iled yesterday in Manhattan federal court, three former interns said they each spent at least 15 hours a week working on blogs affiliated with the New York media company and were “not paid a single cent.”
“Gawker employs numerous other ‘interns’ in the same way, paying them nothing or underpaying them and utilizing their services to publish its content on the Internet, an enterprise that generates significant amounts of revenue for Gawker,” the plaintiffs said in the complaint, which was filed on behalf of all of the company’s unpaid interns.
Whether it is the film or media business, interning is not only part of the game (I worked for years for free in the hopes of breaking into both); it is a very helpful avenue to get your foot in the door of two professions it can be next to impossible to gain access to otherwise. It is how you make contacts, gain crucial experience, and find your place.
No one likes to work for nothing, but if the courts and bitter interns continue to burn this bridge, they will be spoiling a good thing for everyone.
Given the choice between spending $200,000 for a college education or getting the opportunity to actually work in a dream profession (even if it is for free)… I know which one I chose.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC