Bloomberg reports that three former interns are suing Gawker Media and publisher Nick Denton for unpaid wages and overtime. According to the suit filed in Manhattan federal court on Friday, the plaintiffs — identified by the New York Post as Aulistar Mark, Andrew Hudson, and Hanchen Lu — all claim they moderated comment sections and researched, wrote, edited, and promoted posts for Gawker blogs between 2008 and 2010 without compensation. “Gawker employs numerous other ‘interns’ in the same way, paying them nothing or underpaying them and utilizing their services to publish its content on the Internet, an enterprise that generates significant amounts of revenue for Gawker,” said the complaint. This comes just days after a judge ruled that two Fox Searchlight interns who performed menial tasks on the set of Black Swan should have been paid for their work because their coffee-fetching and lunch order-taking immediately benefited the studio, which did not provide the kids with a sufficiently educational experience.
To be fair, Gawker, whose writers have called out others for exploiting interns (and, more recently, questioned the high wages of Google interns), began paying their interns last fall. (In January, they posted a job listing for paid “Editorial Fellows,” whose duties seem to include those previously performed by interns.) And the Fox ruling could mean that everyone else will be forced to do the same. While a former unpaid Harper’s Bazaar intern’s class action lawsuit against Hearst was thrown out for failing to meet “commonality” standards last month, the two former Condé Nast interns who say they were paid less than a dollar a day for their work and who brought a similar suit last week might have better luck. Meanwhile, Gawker which says it has not been served yet, currently has no comment.