Three former interns are suing Gawker and publisher Nick Denton over their time spent writing, editing and doing things that would otherwise be compensated in cold, hard cash for the New York blog empire. The three interns, identified by the New York Post, claim they spent at least 15 hours a week working for Denton's network in the lawsuit filed Friday in a Manhattan federal court.
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Aulistar Mark, Andrew Hudson and Hanchen Lu held Summer internships within the Gawker network between 2008 and 2010. Mark and Hudson worked for Kotaku and i09, respectively, but Lu has no detectable presence on any Gawker sites that we could find. (If you find evidence of his work, please forward it to us.) All three claim they wrote, edited, did social media and were even forced to moderate Gawker's notoriously miserable comment sections during their internship and were "not paid a single cent," the lawsuit says, according to Bloomberg:
“Gawker employs numerous other ‘interns’ in the same way, paying them nothing or underpaying them and utilizing their services to publish its content on the Internet, an enterprise that generates significant amounts of revenue for Gawker,” the plaintiffs said in the complaint, which was filed on behalf of all of the company’s unpaid interns.
Of course, this is all coming on the heels of a judge validating Eric Glatt and Alex Footman's claim claim that Fox Searchlight should have paid them as production interns on Black Swan. The internship lawsuits have since been popping up all over town, obviously, by disgruntled former interns looking for late-game compensation for their work. Editorial employees seem more rankled about the ruling than others; Condé Nast was also sued within the last week.
Gawker just recently started paying their interns with real money. As recently as August 2012, Gawker was offering college credit for their fall interns. In January, a cold call for new "editorial fellows" said they were "paid, hourly employees." When writing about the Glatt and Footman case, Gawker writer Adrian Chen called the two "ungrateful" after they were privileged enough to fetch Natalie Portman's coffee. It really should be mentioned (because no one else is saying it) that Chen was being tongue in cheek. "This is America, where exploiting young people via unpaid internships, thus cutting out anyone who isn't rich or well-connected, is a time-honored tradition," he wrote. Gawker reps told The Hollywood Reporter they haven't been served yet. They aren't commenting at this time.