Michelin-starred restaurant Noma has apologised for threatening to place unpaid interns on a blacklist if they broke a code of conduct.
In a three-page ‘Stagier Introductory Note’ to interns – which Jyllands-Posten newspaper published today – Noma warned against violating a ban on blogging or publishing information about the interns' experiences at the world-renowned restaurant.
“If you fail to comply with this rule, you will be expelled immediately and your name will be added to a blacklist, which will be shared with others [sic] restaurants around the world with whom we share a good relationship,“ stated the letter. It was given to Jyllands-Posten by an anonymous former intern.
Noma also warned that interns would be added to the blacklist if they ended their internship early without consent or by simply not showing up.
Labour market researcher Henning Jørgensen form the University of Aalborg said that it was unethical and problematic to threaten to globally blacklist interns who broke rules.
“It’s very bad and reminds me of the methods that were used in the early days of capitalism that have since been branded as illegitimate,” Jørgensen told Jyllands-Posten, calling for political action.
Noma's managing director, Peter Kreiner, has now apologised for the contents of the letter, telling DR Nyheder that it “was a clear mistake”.
“There is no doubt that the word ‘blacklist’ is far from the standards we set at Noma and Danish norms,” Kreiner said.
He explained that the letter was inspired by letters sent by other restaurants and that the blacklisting threat was copied from one of these letters. Kreiner denied that the blacklist actually existed but has decided to issue a new introductory letter without the blacklisting threat.
“I’m really sad that the story had to be published in the media before we changed it,” Kreiner said.
Read Noma's letter here.