NEW YORK – A Manhattan federal Judge this week declared that it is perfectly legal for businesses within New York City to designate their unpaid interns as company sex slaves. Judge Kevin Castel determined that since the city’s Human Rights Law barring forced prostitution only applies to full-time employees, unpaid interns cannot be considered full human beings and therefore are available to be sexually abused and/or humiliated in any way, shape, or form.
“There is nothing in the law that says an employer can’t tie a naked unpaid intern spread eagle to a bed and force him or her to exist for weeks at a time as little more than an avenue of their boss’s depraved sexual release,” said the Judge. “Though one would hope civility and decorum would discourage such practices.”
The ruling stems from a 2010 case of Lihuan Wang and Phoenix Satellite Television US. Wang was attempting to file suit against the Chinese-language broadcasting company because she was sexually harassed by her supervisor only two weeks into her internship at the company. Wang alleged that her supervisor, Zhengzhu Liu, lured her to his hotel room under false pretences, tried to kiss her, and squeezed her butt. Months later, she tried to speak to him about job opportunities and he instead invited her to stay with him in a hotel room.
“[Liu] either molested or almost raped a number of woman [he supervised] over a seven- to 10-year period, and the company did nothing,” said Wang’s lawyer, Lynne Bernabei. “For the judge to rule that not only does my client not have standing to bring suit against the company, but that as an unpaid intern it would have been within Liu’s right to string her up naked from a bar and perform bukake is disappointing. And gross.”
Castell defended his ruling, saying, “Do I think allowing these vulnerable, young, poor, nubile girls to be turned into corporate whores passed from associate to associate as a reward for surpassing quota is a good thing?” he asked rhetorically. “No, of course not. I have daughters of my own, and I am already dreading the day when the take their first unpaid internship position on Wall Street and their innocence is horribly ripped away. But the law is the law.
“Also, the girl’s name is Wang,” he added. “I mean come on.”