Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's company Dualstar Entertainment Group are being sued by a group of around 40 current and former unapid interns over alleged wage theft.
The lead plaintiff in the suit, Shahista Lalani, worked as a design intern at the twins' company and claims she was ultimately hospitalised due to the tough working conditions. Shahista, who is a design graduate, worked in New York for the head technical designer at the Olsens' fashion label, The Row, for five months, report Page Six. "She was very demanding. I was doing the work of three interns. I was talking to her all day, all night. Emails at nighttime for the next day, like 10 p.m. at night."
She also describes how she ended up needing medical treatment for dehydration, after carting clothes around in intense heat. "It was like 100 degrees outside. I'd just be sweating to death. I probably carried like 50 pounds worth of trench coats."
She goes on to claim that she was working 50-hour weeks "running personal errands for paid employees" and answering emails at all hours of the day and night. "The head technical designer was like, 'Go get my Advil. I need this and this because I'm feeling sick and I have this meeting.'"
Shahista alleges in the court papers that they'd barely even get a 15-minute break and it was hard not to get caught up in the pressure, with interns often seen crying at work.
She does admit that she did not ever work directly for the Olsen twins, though and says that on the odd accession she saw them: "They're really nice people. They were never mean to anyone. They're business people."
Dualstar have since denied the claims in a statement to USA Today: "As an initial matter, Dualstar is an organisation 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."
By Claire Hodgson
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