Back in 1993, Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen bought Dualstar Entertainment, a fashion and entertainment company under which they’ve pursued pretty much all of their ventures (note: they were only six years old when they came to own Dualstar). Unfortunately, Dualstar is now being sued in a class-action lawsuit by a whopping 40 interns, past and present, who claim that working for the Olsens was a bona fide nightmare – one they never even got paid for.
From Page Six:
The lead plaintiff in the Manhattan Supreme Court case is former design intern Shahista Lalani, who says she was treated poorly, toiling for free doing menial tasks at the twins’ Dualstar Entertainment Group in 2012.
The Parsons School of Design grad worked in Manhattan under the head technical designer for the Olsens’ fashion label, The Row, for five months.
“She was very demanding,” Lalani recalled. “I was doing the work of three interns. I was talking to her all day, all night. Emails at nighttime for the next day, like 10 p.m. at night.”
Lalani claims she was hospitalized for dehydration because of the job’s demands.
“It was like 100 degrees outside. I’d just be sweating to death. I probably carried like 50 pounds worth of trench coats” to Row factories, she said.
Lalani never worked directly for the Olsens, but said she saw them occasionally at meetings and liked them.
“They’re really nice people,” she said. “They were never mean to anyone. They’re business people.”
The suit says there are many other interns in Lalani’s position, and they should have been paid the minimum wage plus overtime because they were doing the same type of jobs as the paid colleagues without receiving academic or vocational credit.
About the suit, Annett Wolf, a spokeswoman for the Olsens’ company, told The Post, “Dualstar is not aware of this,” but declined to comment on the firm’s intern policy.
I mean, unpaid internships are fucking bullshit and should have been made illegal years ago (and they have been, in several states, though that doesn’t mean businesses aren’t hiring unpaid interns illegally. The fact that companies can utilize free labor is disgusting, and also completely screws the job market for people with training in their field, who can’t get a job because the company know they can get people to do the job for free.
Then again, if this girl knew she was taking on an unpaid internship, I’m not quite sure why she’s complaining about not getting paid. If she had never worked for them and was fighting for Dualstar to be paying their interns, I’d be fine with it, but the fact that she performed this job and THEN said, “Hey, wait! I wanna get paid now!” is a bit insane (though yes, she definitely should have been paid).