x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Unpaid Hollywood interns say enough is enough

Two men who were employed as interns are suing Fox Searchlight for failing to compensate them for their work.

Black Swan, the 2010 film that stars Natalie Portman and offers an insight into the darker side of the professional ballet world, was not only a hit at awards ceremonies, it made a hefty profit at the box office of about US$300 million (Dh1.01 billion).

The movie also generated a fair amount of controversy, not least because of claims by Portman's body double that she did the vast majority of the technical dancing in the film.

As of last week, the movie has once again come under fire - this time from two men who were employed as interns: Alex Footman and Eric Glatt are reportedly suing Fox Searchlight for failing to pay them for their work.

While in the movie business it is generally accepted that internships are often unpaid, this is seen as a trade-off - the experience helps educate those who want to break into the industry and provide them with valuable insights.

Footman and Glatt are arguing that they spent their time fulfilling menial tasks (making coffee and fetching lunch) that should have been undertaken by someone who was being paid, and therefore didn't learn anything that would prove useful for the future.

Not only do they want to be reimbursed for their work, they are also looking for an injunction to be taken out against Fox Searchlight to prevent this from happening to other unpaid interns.