Olsen Twins Being Sued for Overworking Interns Without Pay
Looks like little Michelle from “Full House” grew up to be a double serving of Miranda Priestly from “The Devil Wears Prada” – and it’s revived a discussion about overworked, unpaid interns and how low-level employees are treated.
(Is it bad that I’m still kind of into it? The Olsen twins were already weirdly fascinating before they became a terrifying fashionista duo – now I’m dying to see the loosely-fictionalized version of this story on Netflix.)
Former design intern Shahista Lalani is the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit from 40 current and previous interns, alleging wage theft at the Olsen twins’ Duelstar Entertainment Group. Lalani claims she was treated poorly, working 50-hour weeks without pay under the head technical designer for the Olsens’ fashion label The Row for five months in 2012 – and she claims she did not receive any academic or vocational credit for the work, either.
Keep in mind that the twins’ fashion and media empire is worth a billion dollars – and they still don’t want to pay their interns for long hours of work.
“She was very demanding,” Lalani said of the Olsens’ technical designer. “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 the work was so brutal, she was hospitalized for dehydration. “It was like 100 degrees outside. I’d just be sweating to death. I probably carried like 50 pounds worth of trench coats.”
Other grueling intern tasks included putting data into spreadsheets, running personal errands, organizing materials, photocopying, sewing and pattern cutting. Lalani claimed she often saw other interns crying as they went on coffee runs and photocopied documents.
The Olsen twins also demanded fear, respect, and complete silence in the office and you could “hear a pin drop in that place,” according to Mashable.