Leading gay publishing company Millivres Prowler Group have
issued a statement today after MP Robert Halfon submitted an Early
Day Motion about DIVA magazine.
The Conservative MP detailed EDM 2037 on social mobility after a
17 year-old student's internship was postponed, earlier this
Early Day Motions are formal motions submitted for debate in the
House of Commons.
The monthly glossy became the subject of Halfon's attention after
a reader, Simone Webb, blogged about the magazine's policy on
funding travel costs for work experience staff.
In response, MPG said via a statement today: "Simone Webb first
contacted DIVA in response to an appeal for interns that we ran on
our Facebook Page on 26th January 2011. Our editor, Jane
Czyzselska, replied to Ms Webb to say a slot was likely from 1st
July and that we would be in touch nearer the time to confirm
details. On 30th May Ms Webb wrote to the editor, asking if travel
expenses could be paid. Jane Czyzselska emailed back to explain
that DIVA occasionally paid expenses and asked how much this was
likely to be. On 2nd June, Ms Webb replied, setting out her travel
expenses. At this point she also asked if the fact that she was
under 18 would be a problem. Jane replied on 29th June saying that
she was sorry but that DIVA could not offer expenses, and that
given Ms Webb's age and lack of budget, suggested postponing until
Ms Webb was 18. Ms Webb replied that this was "fine"."
It continued: "Ms Webb evidently objected to the postponement of
her internship. But rather than take this up with DIVA, she decided
to blog about her concerns. These blogs were picked up by a more
prominent blogger and subsequently by her local Member of
Parliament - Robert Halfon MP - who lodged an Early Day Motion in
the House of Commons condemning DIVA's alleged mistreatment of Ms
Webb. At no point did Ms Webb, the more prominent blogger or her
Member of Parliament contact us before going public with their
criticism of DIVA.
"For the record, DIVA has a clear and socially responsible policy
for work experience placements and for internships which include
consideration of expenses and also the age and circumstances of
each applicant. As a small independent publisher serving the LGBT
community since 1974 and working on the tightest of budgets, we
cannot offer expenses to all work experience placements.
"Instead, we ensure that each work experience recruit or intern
receives great professional development and pastoral care in return
for their time. DIVA has recruited some very successful writers
through this scheme, who go on to write for us and other media
DIVA Magazine is Europe's leading magazine for gay and bisexual