Evening Standard defends unpaid internship prize as "a great opportunity"WINNER CAN OPT OUT OF THE PLACEMENT IF THEY CAN’T AFFORD THE TIME, SAYS SPOKESPERSON

The Evening Standard has dismissed concerns that the unpaid fashion internship ‘prize’ it advertised as part of a competition involving sister TV station London Live is unfair or exploitative, insisting that winners needn’t take up the four-week opportunity if they can’t afford the time.

Last week, several readers wrote to complain about the Fashion Happy Film Competition, so we sent a letter to the paper. The Evening Standard didn’t publish it – but their managing editor, Will Gore, did write back to us, saying the newspaper group (which belong to zillionaire Evgeny Lebedev) had no plans to re-think the terms of the competition prize:

From: Evening Standard
To: Graduate fog
Subject: Re: London Live unpaid internship advert

Dear Tanya

Thanks very much for your note.

As you’ll have seen, we were promoting what we thought was a great opportunity for someone with an interest in fashion to win clothes and accessories to the value of £2,000, plus the chance to have their short film showcased on mainstream TV and to spend some time in our offices, shadowing London Live staff to gain an insight into the channel, the broadcasting industry and the world of fashion. Whether the winner decides to take up the chance to come to the offices here (as opposed to just the other elements of the prize) is entirely for them. They can come and go as they wish and don’t have to stay for the maximum 4 week period.

Best wishes


Graduates were less than #fashionhappy about the competition
We replied:

From: Graduate Fog
To: Evening Standard

Hi Will,

Thanks for your response. Your defence of the internship ‘prize’ as optional is one I have not heard before and it will be interesting to see what my readers make of it.

Just one thing – are you able to clarify whether you are saying that the internship is just work shadowing? In other words, will the intern be expected to do any useful tasks during their time at London Live?

Thanks again,


He responded:

From: Evening Standard
To: Graduate Fog

Hi Tanya

There are no particular expectations at this end, as far as I’m aware. We thought the option to spend some time at our offices, in conjunction with a monetary prize to the value of £2,000 (and the chance to showcase creative flair) was a positive thing. We are not seeking to take advantage of anyone and this isn’t part of some sort of formal training or work programme.

As you probably know, quite separately we run a long-term apprenticeship scheme here which involves a two-year contract for on-the-job training in conjunction with a college qualification. We are committed to offering viable routes into the media industry.


Graduate Fog is rather confused. If it’s true that the internship doesn’t involve any real work and there are no set hours, the Evening Standard is likely to be in the clear legally. However, it seems a shame that a less-well off winner (who can’t afford a month of work shadowing) will be able to claim half of their prize. What do you think?

Does making the internship optional make things better? Or is it unfair that a less well-off winner will benefit less from the prize than one who can afford to spend a month at the newspaper without pay? Do you believe that the internship will involve no real work?

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