Today’s Wall Street Journal essay …

is on the class action lawsuit filed on behalf of unpaid writers against the Huffington Post.

Put simply: Gimme a fucking break.

15 thoughts on “Today’s Wall Street Journal essay …”

  1. Well put, Jeff. What galls me about this whole thing is that the writers knew they weren’t get paid in the first place. It’s not like promises weren’t kept.

  2. I can’t believe Jeff Pearlman is standing up in favor of the exploitation of writers.

    Writing is work. Writers should be paid each and every time they produce content (making snarky comments on someone else’s blog doesn’t count).

    Harlan Ellison is right. Pay the writer. I encourage everyone to watch his rant — even with his great and crazy digression, the man is correct: People expect writers to work for free and will gladly exploit them because amateurs are devaluing the craft.

    1. Greg, I’m NOT saying writers should work for free or be exploited. What I AM saying is that if you agree to write for free, you can’t turn around and sue for, eh, writing for free. It doesn’t—and shouldn’t—work that way. Solution: Don’t write for the Huff Post. Problem solved.

  3. Same thing happens to musicians. A movie or a tv show that has a small budget and wants to use your music but cannot pay you. Do you turn down the free exposure and hold out for $$$ and get nothing, or do you take the opportunity and use it to pad your resume and hopefully lead to more promising things. Either way, once you make your decision, yo CANNOT go back and DEMAND they alter the agreement. Lawyers suck!!!!!

  4. Writers write for free because they want exposure. They’re too dumb or new to the process to understand that not getting paid each and every time they write hurts not only themselves but other writers as well.

    How is it that the Huffington Post can get away with benefitting from free labor? The answer: It cannot, and should be made to pay punitively for abusing these writers and their labor: Even with their consent.

  5. Greg, what aren’t you understanding here? I volunteer with the Special Olympics in part because I want to give back, but to be honest, it also looks good on my resume. Should I go and sue the Special Olympics demanding I be compensated for my time? No, because I’m not a moron and I never asked to be paid in the first place.

  6. A better question, Steven, is why you’d come up with that lame analogy. See, there’s a huge difference between volunteering for a charity event and a megaconglomerate finding a way to avoid paying people for their labor.

    If the Huffington Post wasn’t paying its IT people, its custodial staff, or its payroll people, everyone would be pulling their hair out in a rage. But it’s not paying its writers? Oh, that’s just fine and dandy!

  7. Greg,

    Because that’s the agreement that they made. If an IT person or payroll person agreed to take an unpaid internship for experience and resume building, no one would bat an eye. If they made that agreement before they started work, then they couldn’t go back and say, “I think I should have gotten paid for my work.”

    I’m a musician. For years, I volunteered as a fill-in pianist and singer, sacrificing my time and energy for practices, sound checks, and performances. Now, I have a steady, weekly gig that pays good on-the-side money. Should I go back to everyone I volunteered for and demand compensation?

  8. As well written as that was, Ryan, I’m not sure he’ll ever get it. I can’t believe I got sucked into this. This is why I stay away from comment sections: Too many people refuse to accept reason and logic.

  9. By logic and reason you mean your logic and reason, right?

    The case is a legal long-shot, sure, mostly due to the stupidity of the bloggers. But unjust enrichment is not an impossibility and, of course, the ultimate goal would be to ensure writers are paid for every work they produce.

    And we’re not talking about internships here, either. Interns traditionally are of high-school and college age, and they traditionally get educational credit for their labor. In fact, the law is clear about establishing guidelines for employers seeking to hire interns.

    1. But Greg—if one wants to be paid to write, DON’T write for places that don’t pay. I mean, what’s so complicated here? They were very up front about not paying. Are they dicks? Probably. Evil? Maybe. But did Huff mislead? No.

Leave a Reply