Selling unpaid internships is dispiriting and favours the rich, says critic
A three-month unpaid internship at a major movie studio has been auctioned off for $25,000 (£16,600). It means that the winner, yet to be disclosed, has paid more than £5,000 a month to work, free of charge, for Harvey Weinstein’s company.
The auction, revealed by the UK site, Graduate Fog , was arranged by Charity Buzz , which closed the bidding a couple of days ahead of deadline. Bidding had reached the $25,000 reserve price, but it is not known if it exceeded it.
Under the usual terms of a Charity Buzz auction, the majority portion of the proceeds of a bid are donated to charity.
But Tanya de Grunwald, founder of Graduate Fog, which fights for the rights of interns , is unimpressed with the whole exercise. She said:
“This auction prize shows that Hollywood has a long way to go in understanding the diversity problem it faces. It suggests the Weinstein company just doesn’t get it.
Graduates know that the entertainment industry is tough, and they are prepared to work hard to break in. But adverts like this are dispiriting.
A three-month internship at the Weinstein company looks fantastic on anyone’s CV, and the contacts and experience they’ll pick up are priceless. It’s a golden ticket to a movie career – but only if your parents are rich enough to buy it.
The lucky young person who ‘wins’ this opportunity will have a huge advantage in the job market over those who may be more talented, but who come from more a modest background. That some of the proceeds go to charity is irrelevant. Selling internships is just plain wrong”.
Referring to the fact that one of Weinstein company’s movies is up for an Oscar at the weekend, she added:
“If The Imitation Game scoops lots of awards on Sunday night, perhaps Harvey Weinstein could take a few minutes out from the celebrations to consider all the young movie-makers who are currently being excluded from his industry, simply because their parents aren’t rich enough to buy their way in”.
Other lots currently available at Charity Buzz include a meet-and-greet with Lady Gaga, the chance to meet Jennifer Lopez and a wine-tasting session with Mark Wahlberg.
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