‘Black Swan’ Event: The Beginning of the End of Unpaid Internships

“Interns are used to being laughed at, but all of a sudden things were deadly serious.”

Business & Money

Two years ago, they didn’t stand a chance.

Two days ago, when I heard they had won, I dug the e-mail out of my inbox: “I’ve been glad to read about your upcoming book, Intern Nation. I recently worked as one of approximately 20 illegally unpaid interns for the Oscar-nominated film Black Swan.”

The e-mail was from Eric Glatt, a 41-year-old New Yorker who admitted that he fell “outside the norm” for an intern, with his two Master’s degrees and substantial career experience under his belt. Like many older interns in today’s labor market, he was transitioning careers and had no idea how brutal it would be. In 2010, he worked hundreds of hours on the set of Black Swan, doing the essential work of drawing up purchase orders, making spreadsheets, running errands — and earning nothing for his work, not even the minimum wage of $7.25…

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