Charity that employs Carrie Johnson in backlash over unpaid internsDecember 29, 2021
Animal charity that employs Carrie Johnson faces backlash for hiring unpaid zookeeper interns to do ‘heavy lifting’ for up to a YEAR with no travel costs covered
- Carrie Johnson is director of communications at The Aspinall Foundation
- The charity advertised for three unpaid interns to work for up to a year
- Said ‘Candidates will need to have the ability to financially support themselves’
- At least one member of staff at the foundation is on a £80,000 a year salary
The animal charity where Carrie Johnson is the director of communications has advertised for three unpaid interns for ‘physically demanding’ work lasting up to a year.
Details in the trio of internships at The Aspinall Foundation said wannabe animal keepers needed to be able to do ‘heavy lifting’ and have ‘good fitness’.
It stressed ‘We are unable to offer any wages or salary for the placement.
‘We will provide a full uniform and discount at the parks food outlets for the days that you attend work. No other financial benefits are offered’
The internships are for between three and five days a week for up to 12 months.
The advert added: ‘Candidates will need to have the ability to financially support themselves for the entire length of the internship.’
This evening the communications department did not respond to MailOnline, autoreplying a spokeswoman was out of the office until January 3 with limited access to emails’.
Ms Johnson – who is Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s wife – was made Director of Communications in January.
Carrie Johnson is the director of communications at The Aspinall Foundation animal charity
The Aspinall Foundation offers luxury getaways including in this Giraffe Lodge with the animal
Damian Aspinall and Carrie Johnson with the cheetahs at an Aspinall Foundation zoo, around the time the Prime Minister’s then fiancee was hired to be director of communications
One of the internship adverts shows how hard it stresses they will need to support themselves
Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke told the Mirror Boris Johnson must act to show he is serious about ‘levelling-up’.
The backbencher, who has pushed for eight years to ban long unpaid internships, said: ‘It’s a campaign that I continue to want to see resolved.
‘The Prime Minister has a big levelling-up agenda.
‘And I would hope he would eventually find the legislative vehicle to support the banning of unpaid internships, which – as this example shows – precludes people who don’t have independent financial means.’
The Aspinall Foundation was set up by zoo owner John Aspinall in 1984 and it is now run by his millionaire son Damian.
It paid more than £150,000 to his wife Victoria for interior design services last year.
The figure paid by the Aspinall Foundation equates to ten per cent of all donations received from public and corporate donors in 2020.
The organisation and its sister charity the Howletts Wild Animal Trust are already being investigated by the Charity Commission over their spending and financial management.
It was revealed in April that watchdogs had launched a probe into payments made to chairman Damian Aspinall and other family members. Pictured: Victoria and Damian Aspinall
A gorilla called Kangu, who lives in the semi-freedom conditions in Lesio Louna reserve in The Republic of Congo. Kangu is now twenty years old, most of which had spent in London zoo. Thanks to a Aspinall Foundation he is now being adapted to living in the wild.
Carrie Johnson is being wooed by Netflix to make nature documentary
Carrie Johnson is in talks with Netflix to produce a hard-hitting nature documentary about elephants, it can be revealed.
Mrs Johnson, 33, is head of communications at the Aspinall Foundation wildlife charity, which is preparing to relocate 13 of the ivory-tusked animals from the Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent to Kenya, in Africa.
The move, set to take place in the coming months, is a world-first in terms of its size.
The prime minister’s wife and her boss, Damian Aspinall, are now being courted by Netflix and other streaming giants, who want to document the historic moment.
A friend of Mrs Johnson told the Daily Mail: ‘Carrie’s phone was ringing off the hook after it was announced she was working hard on the project to re-wild the elephants.
‘It’s an inspiring story, and she and Damian are such charismatic and passionate people that they are the right people to tell it.’
They hope to make a show similar to the Netflix hit Seaspiracy, which made a powerful case against eating fish.
It was revealed in April that watchdogs had launched a probe into payments made to chairman Damian Aspinall and other family members.
This included concerns that £12,500 had been handed to his wife Victoria for interior design services in 2019.
But updated accounts, filed in October, reveal that Mrs Aspinall’s fees had gone up 12-fold in 2020 to £150,158.
The foundation insisted her fees had been subject to ‘rigorous benchmarking’ to ensure it received ‘value for money’.
The alleged mismanagement happened before the arrival of the Prime Minister’s wife, who took on a senior role at the charity, heading up communications for a ‘medium to high five-figure salary’ in January this year.
Other trustees of the charity include Ben Goldsmith, the Tory donor, and his half-brother Robin Birley, whose father Mark founded the Mayfair nightclub Annabel’s.
The Aspinall Foundation’s job adverts said it was ‘funded entirely by visitor fees and donations’.
But its 2020 accounts showed 19 staff on the books, the highest earning of which was over £80,000 a year.
Mr Shelbrooke added: ‘In my opinion there isn’t an organisation in the world that can justify not paying someone after four weeks.
‘Unpaid internships are immoral and at the very minimum people should be paid minimum wage.
‘Because after four weeks it moves beyond experience and you are clearly adding value to that organisation.’
The Aspinall Foundation did not respond to a request to comment from MailOnline.
A spokeswoman’s auto-email reply said: I will be out of the office until January 3, 2022, with limited access to emails.’
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