Fox Searchlight Pictures responded dismissively to the lawsuit brought by two unpaid interns who worked on Black Swan, claiming that the accusations are meritless because the plaintiffs never officially worked for them. Alex Footman and Eric Glatt had filed a lawsuit in Manhattan last week, claiming that Fox Searchlight had violated work laws with the not-uncommon industry practice of unpaid internships. According to their lawsuit, as reported in the New York Times, labor rules required that unpaid interns receive hands-on educational experience, not the menial tasks – such as fetching coffee and taking out the trash – that interns are routinely assigned. “The only thing I learned on this internship was to be more picky in choosing employment opportunities,” Footman, 24, 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.”
Fox Searchlight didn’t address the specific workplace charges since their stance is essentially, “It has nothing to do with us.” 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.