Modus Publicity faces wrath of industry over intern policy

PR professionals last night rounded on the fashion PR boss who unwittingly played a starring role in a BBC documentary about social mobility.

Twitter talk: Insight boss John Lehal's page
Twitter talk: Insight boss John Lehal's page

Modus Publicity director Julian Vogel featured in the BBC2 programme Who Gets The Best Jobs? when his agency was exposed on TV as employing up to 20 unpaid interns.

Vogel told reporter Richard Bilton that interns were 'a really vital resource'. But he admitted that by not paying them, 'I do worry sometimes that it does favour the slightly better off'.

If their Twitter feeds were anything to go by, fellow PR professionals tuning in to the programme were largely unimpressed with Modus' approach to the use of interns.

77PR managing partner Alan Twigg stated: 'Modus PR not doing our sector any favours on BBC2 tonight.'

Umpf PR boss Adrian Johnson agreed: 'For a PR agency owner he came across terribly.'

Gibson Guitar UK PR manager Jeremy Singer weighed in: 'Looks like the Modus MD fell at the first fence over that very direct yet poignant unpaid intern question!'

Insight Public Affairs MD John Lehal was particularly scathing: 'Disgraceful Julian Vogel & ModusPR dragging down the industry by not paying their interns, who BTW all seem cut from the same cloth.'

He added: 'Trade associations need to make their industries more accessible to kids who can't benefit from the dinner party circuit.'

Similarly, independent PR consultant Katie Moffat tweeted: 'Disgraceful business practice with your use of interns for free labour.... And that disingenuous performance by the MD – urgh.'

But speaking as the programme was due to be aired, a frustrated Vogel insisted that Modus was not alone in employing numerous unpaid interns.

He also defended the agency's record, stating: 'We've given a start to so many people in the industry. So many say they wouldn't be where they are without that initial training.'

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