Olsen Twins’ Team Fires Back At Former Intern

Photo: Rex USA.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are not going to sit back and let interns walk all over them. Well, their lawyers aren't, anyway. In response to a class action lawsuit filed in August by a former intern, attorneys for the Olsens' Dualstar Entertainment Group have filed a response that basically says, "Nope." The Daily Mail acquired the court papers, so you can read them for yourself. To recap: In August, former intern Shahista Lalani filed the suit, which stated that in 2012, she worked 50-hour weeks for the Olsens' label, The Row, for no pay at all, just like all the other interns at Dualstar...and thousands of other internships across the country — until just recently. What has changed since then is that a number of high-profile companies, such as Condé Nast, Fox, and NBCUniversal, have settled similar suits with their interns after the Labor Department updated guidelines about what could legally constitute an unpaid internship. The work needs to benefit the intern more than the company, the guidelines state. Lalani's suit alleges that her work — data entry, running personal errands, cleaning, organizing, photocopying, sewing, and pattern-cutting — "provided an immediate advantage to Dualstar." In the response, filed on September 14, Dualstar "denies each and every allegation," in just about every paragraph of the suit and it seeks to have the judge dismiss the case entirely. It should be interesting to see if that happens. If it doesn't, a court case in which people accuse the Olsens of taking advantage of young, aspiring designers would not be a pretty sight. Lalani has already told the New York Post that she landed in the hospital with dehydration after running an errand and that she often saw other interns in tears. She did, however, say that the former actresses themselves were never mean to anyone.

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