Lawyers seek class action lawsuit over Fox internship programs

The Hollywood Reporter
Lawyers for two interns who worked on the movie “Black Swan” are expanding their lawsuit from the studio that produced the movie to Fox’s entire entertainment division, Eriq Gardner reports:

The plaintiffs now are seeking the opportunity to file an amended lawsuit that will “broaden the scope of the case to include all interns who participated in Fox Entertainment Group’s internship program.”

Alex Footman and Eric Glatt said they performed the work of paid employees on the film. Footman told The New York Times last year that he got stuck “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 worked in accounting. Their say they’re adding two new plaintiffs from other Fox units, Eden Antalik and Kanene Gratts, and seeking to make the suit a class action against the entire Fox Entertainment Group.

Gardner describes internships as a “a legal hotspot in entertainment and media in the past year.” You may remember the story of Xuedan “Diana” Wang, who sued Hearst, claiming her unpaid internship at Harper’s Bazaar was really an unpaid full-time job. Wang also reportedly sued a jeweler for which she interned.

Fox Entertainment Group now pays interns $8 an hour, Gardner writes.

Fox News, too, offers go-getters a way in through a two-year paid program called Junior Reporters, a network spokesperson tells us. It draws from Fox News Channel University (FNCU), an unpaid internship that offers college credit, as well as a “vast pool of entry-level candidates from around the country.” Another paid internship, the Ailes Apprentice Program, was built to “nurture diverse talent in broadcast and cable journalism.”

Extra credit for any intern who figures out a way to ask Fox honcho Roger Ailes about his advice to j-school students earlier this year that they should change their majors.

Related: How to tell when unpaid internships are opportunities, when they’re an abuse

Correction: Based on information provided by Fox, this post originally said the Ailes Apprentice Program was an unpaid internship. Fox has since confirmed it is paid.

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