Wednesday 13 November 2019

UN intern admits that his 'tent home' was a publicity stunt

Flag of United Nations
Flag of United Nations

Sarah-Jane Murphy

A New Zealand man who lived in a tent during his unpaid United Nations internship has admitted it was a publicity stunt.

Yet his Christchurch-based mum has only praise for her son's "moral leadership" in becoming an activist for unpaid interns' rights.

David Hyde, 22, made international headlines after a Swiss newspaper published a story about him living in a tent in a Geneva park to make ends meet.

He was offered accommodation and some residents in the Swiss city came to his aid by searching for him so he would not spend another night in his tent.

On Friday morning Mr Hyde admitted to the publicity stunt on The Intercept website, where he said his intention was only to spark a discussion in on intern rights and was not expect to garner international attention.

Through his post, Hyde revealed he had been asked by the UN if he could financially support himself before he accepted the internship, and he took the job knowing he couldn't.

"When interviewed for the position, I was clearly asked if I would be able to fully fund myself in Geneva for the six-month duration," he wrote.

"I said yes, but my bank account clearly said no."

He resigned his unpaid internship after it made international headlines.

"This is an issue which did need to be raised ... and I think having the UN, who encourages equal rights and pay for equal work, should be the moral leaders," he said.

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