Following the news that former interns sued Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and their fashion company The Row for unpaid wages, the Olsens released a statement on the matter to Yahoo Style, via their parent company Dualstar:
“As an initial matter, Dualstar is an organization that is committed to treating all individuals fairly and in accordance with all applicable laws. The allegations in the complaint filed against Dualstar are groundless, and Dualstar will vigorously defend itself against plaintiff’s claims in court, not before the media. Dualstar is confident that once the true facts of this case are revealed, the lawsuit will be dismissed in its entirety.”
According to Page Six, an estimated 40 interns, past and present, filed the class-action lawsuit in the Manhattan Supreme court who are alleging wage theft. The plaintiffs seek compensation for their work, plus overtime.
Former design intern Shahista Lalani, the lead plaintiff in the case, described multiple instances of mistreatment by her supervisor, The Row’s lead technical designer, and one instance when she was hospitalized for dehydration due to the job’s demands.
“When we weren’t doing something, they’d be like, ‘Organize the buttons in the back by color code.’ You’re cleaning. You don’t get a set 15-minute break. You just go with their crazy flow. You just [got] caught up in the pressure,” Lalani says. “You’re like an employee, except you’re not getting paid. They’re kind of mean to you. Other interns have cried. I’d see a lot of kids crying doing coffee runs, photocopying stuff.”