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Unpaid Black Swan Interns Sue For Pay

The unpaid film interns from the Aronofsky film, Black Swan, have a lawsuit against the producers, asking for fair wages, reports the New York Times.

Led by Eric Glatt and Alex Footman, who interned on the film produced by Fox Searchlight, the plaintiffs argue that the menial work the interns did should have been done by paid employees. For example, Footman, 24, was tasked with making sure the coffee pot was full, taking lunch orders, and taking out the trash. He believes he should have been paid for this kind of work.

The plaintiffs argue that the producers of Black Swan did not meet the federal labor criteria for unpaid internships.

The federal law that governs how interns must be compensated is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under it, there is a six part unpaid internship test to determine if an intern can be unpaid:

  • The internship should be similar in training to an educational environment;
  • The experience must benefit the intern;
  • The intern must not displace regular employees;
  • The employer must derive an immediate advantage from activities of the intern;
  • There shouldn't be a guarantee of a job at the end of the internship;
  • Both parties must understand that the intern is not entitled to wages.

The lawsuit is seeking class-action status as apparently there were more than 100 unpaid interns on the various Fox Searchlight films. They will seek back pay as well as an injunction against any further such practice.

So, all those Texans with dreams of going to Hollywood and making a name for themselves -- be careful with the internships and read up on that six part unpaid internship test.

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