MAMAMIA founder and editor-in-chief Mia Freedman yesterday stood firm in the face of mounting and vicious criticism after a charity donation of two unpaid internships at her business backfired stupendously.
Freedman’s “priceless” donations, two internships at Mamamia, sold for $5000 a piece at a silent auction on Thursday which benefited the Women For The World fundraising group for Caritas Australia.
But Freedman was yesterday copping a full force Twitterazzi backlash as followers accused her of exploiting young talent.
Outspoken comedian Ben Pobjie wrote: “We can take comfort in the fact that the kind of person who’d pay 10 grand to intern at Mamamia is the kind of person who deserves to.”
Lauren Ingram agreed: “I’d pay $10k to never have to work at Mamamia.”
Freedman rose to the challenge, telling critics to “park their sanctimony and outrage”
In a lengthy post which outlined how the donation came about and what Mamamia’s Women’s Network (MWN) Internship Program involved, she bristled: “Mamamia was not involved in the promotion of the auction item and was not responsible for the description of the internship as “priceless”.
This was done by organisers presumably, and understandably, to maximise the amount raised for the charity.
“The internship item raised $10k at the auction for the Women For The World charity. MWN did not at any time propose to claim this as a tax deduction. This suggestion is absurd,” she said in response to those claiming Freedman would write it off for tax.
One of the successful bidders was blogger Hayley Campbell, a first-year Bachelor of Arts student. She said she was excited about the internship, which she can complete either by working one day a week for three months or can take in a two-week block.
“Am very much looking forward to my internship at Money is not a concern, looking forward to the experience,” the self-described “passionate about sports journalism and media” enthusiast, aged 22, declared.
Auction MC and organiser Ben Fordham defended Freedman and revealed, as a successful example of a media intern made good, he had asked her to donate the items — initially one lot, and later two: “It was my idea. I’ve helped raise hundreds of thousands (of dollars) auctioning work experience in radio and TV. There is nothing wrong with young people offering their services. There is no need for people to be ripping into Mia.
“I started working for free as a 16-year-old at 2UE. I did work experience with Alan Jones and my first boss was Ray Hadley. You are giving people a great opportunity and there are plenty of young people who are happy to offer their services for free knowing that this is a foot in the door and an opportunity to get a job.”