Mes Amies, I am irked, vexed, rankled.
With more important headlines lately I’m not sure you’ve noticed the most recent Intern vs Media Entity lawsuit: Anthony Tart vs The Wendy Williams Show.
I leaned in when this update from Deadline hit my desk because I have been genuinely shocked by assistants in my office with horror stories of working 50+ hours per week for free to gain experience and maybe – maybe – a paid position. And the spate of lawsuits since interns on the Black Swan ran the production’s accounting department and won their day in court.
I take opportunity, economic justice and the income gap seriously.
As a Wendy fan, I thought, oh no…
Per Deadline, according to the complaint, young Anthony Tart was
made to work like full-time employees on the WW Show. In his class-action complaint, Tart claims he “performed various tasks, including but not limited to, washing dishes, getting coffee, picking up art supplies, stocking printers, throwing out garbage, and creating a tape library.” As well as not being paid for doing the work of a full-timer, the former intern also says he got no “educational or vocation training” during the two days a week (emphasis mine) he worked on Williams’ show from August to December 2012.
Last time I checked two days a week was part-time.
Back in the day – 1983 to be precise – I was the the happiest intern on the planet working at Virgin Records original Vernon Yard location in London. My various tasks included:
Making tea (LOTS of tea)
Working the switchboard (true!)
I made so much tea for the company that my nickname was “Double Tea With” – a reference to how the label’s director, Simon Draper, took his tea. To this day I am grateful for every cup of tea I made for Richard Branson (weak tea, splash of milk).
Because I learned.
I am irked because there are worthy kids who would jump at the chance to intern at The Wendy Williams Show and ride the train from DC to get there if they had to (as P. Diddy famously did to his internship at Uptown Records).
I am vexed at the total lack of gratitude and rankled by attorney’s who fill a kid’s head with dreams of the big payout while killing his career before it’s even begun.