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Fox Filmed Entertainment has dismissed a lawsuit brought against Fox Searchlight by two former interns who worked on the film Black Swan are suing over alleged violation of minimum wage and overtime laws.
In a statement, the studio said, “Now that we have had a chance to review this suit, it is clear that these are completely meritless claims aimed solely at getting press coverage for the litigants and their attorneys. These interns were not even retained by Fox Searchlight and, in fact, were working for the production company that made Black Swan well before Fox Searchlight even acquired its rights in the film. These individuals were never employed as interns or retained in any capacity by Fox Searchlight, which has a proud history of supporting and fostering productive internships. We look forward to aggressively fighting these groundless, opportunistic accusations.”
The plaintiffs, Alex Footman and Eric Glatt, claim that Fox Searchlight did not give them the kind of educational experience that would exempt the company from having to pay the interns under current labor laws.
“Fox Searchlight’s unpaid interns are a crucial labor force on its productions, functioning as production assistants and bookkeepers and performing secretarial and janitorial work,” the lawsuit says. “In misclassifying many of its workers as unpaid interns, Fox Searchlight has denied them the benefits that the law affords to employees.”
Footman told the New York Times his duties including making coffee, handling lunch orders, taking out the trash and cleaning the production office.
Glatt, meanwhile, worked as an accounting intern, creating documents for purchase orders and petty cash, going to the set for signatures and making spreadsheets to track missing information in personnel files.
“The only thing I learned on this internship was to be more picky in choosing employment opportunities,” Footman told the Times. “Black Swan had more than $300 million in revenues. If they paid us, it wouldn’t make a big difference to them, but it would make a huge difference to us.”
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