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Condé Nast to Settle Internship Lawsuit

CEO Chuck Townsend defends now-shuttered intern program

The Condé Nast internship drama might finally be coming to a close, but not without leaving some serious damage in its wake.

Today, Condé CEO Chuck Townsend announced in a memo to employees, obtained by Capital New York, that the publisher is looking to settle a lawsuit brought by two former interns, Lauren Ballinger and Matthew Leib.

“We believe that settling the lawsuit at this time is the right business decision for Condé Nast,” wrote Townsend.” The settlement will allow us to devote our time and resources towards developing meaningful, new opportunities to support up-and-coming talent.” No further details of the settlement were provided.

Last June, Ballinger and Leib, former summer interns at W and The New Yorker, respectively, sued Condé Nast, claiming that they had been paid below minimum wage for their work. (The previous year, Hearst had been the target of a similar lawsuit brought by a former Harper’s Bazaar intern.) Four months later, Condé decided to shut down its internship program entirely.

In his memo, Townsend praised the now-defunct internship program, writing, “We are, and have always been, extremely proud of the internship experiences that were offered at Condé Nast. … The training and contacts our interns received at Condé Nast helped many begin successful careers here and elsewhere.”

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