CBS sued over unpaid internships at ‘Late Show With David Letterman’

David Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants, and CBS face a class-action suit on behalf of former "Late Show With David Letterman" interns.
David Letterman’s production company, Worldwide Pants, and CBS face a class-action suit on behalf of former “Late Show With David Letterman” interns.
(John Paul Filo / CBS)

A former unpaid intern at “Late Show With David Letterman” has filed a class-action suit accusing CBS and Letterman’s production company, Worldwide Pants, of violating minimum-wage and overtime laws.

Mallory Musallam’s lawsuit, filed on behalf of six years’ worth of unpaid “Late Show” interns, alleges that the defendants intentionally minimized labor costs by giving work to unpaid interns instead of having paid employees stay extra hours or hiring additional employees to do it, according to a court filing posted by Deadline.

As a “Late Show” intern from approximately September through December 2008, Musallam typically worked more than 40 hours a week and did not receive any pay or academic or vocational training, the suit says. Her tasks, it says, included “research for interview material, deliver film clips from libraries, running errands, faxing, scanning, operating the switchboard and other similar duties.”

The suit seeks back pay, interest and attorneys’ fees.


CBS said in a statement that it intends to vigorously defend itself.

“This lawsuit is part of a nationwide trend of class-action lawyers attacking internship opportunities provided by companies in the media and entertainment industry,” it said. “We pride ourselves on providing valuable internship experiences, and we take seriously all of our obligations under relevant labor and employment laws.”

The suit is indeed part of a trend, touched off by a class action against Fox Searchlight by former interns on the 2010 film “Black Swan.” Lawsuits followed from unpaid interns at Warner Music Group and Atlantic Records and at publishing houses Conde Nast and Hearst Corp.

In June, a former intern for the Los Angeles Clippers sued as well.

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