A June 11 court hearing has ruled that Fox Searchlight violated labor laws by not paying two interns on the set of Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan.” This might put the future of the Hollywood internship into permanent limbo. Per the Hollywood Reporter, college credit — the long-accepted form of “payment” for interns’ work — is now scaring off Hollywood employers worried about possible future lawsuits.
Paying minimum wage to interns may not even be enough, as overtime hours could trigger Social Security Tax payments under the new Affordable Care Act. This extra expense plus the hassle of dealing with a lawsuit if interns aren’t paid may be enough to cause production companies to shut down internship programs altogether.
In 2010, Alex Footman and Eric Glatt were interning on the set of “Black Swan,” tracking purchases, making photocopies and other familiar intern activities. Reportedly a union rep at the production complained that the interns were performing tasks that should have been assigned to a staffer. Footman and Glatt eventually sued for not receiving monetary compensation.