Arianna Huffington, president and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, attend a news conference for the launching of "Le Huffington Post" in Paris January 23, 2012. (Reuters/Charles Platiau)

Arianna touts her unpaid massage parlor

She somehow convinced masseuses they're "making the world a better place" by giving journalists free back rubs


Alex Pareene
August 30, 2012 11:30PM (UTC)

Hey, Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington was on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" this morning! Arianna and Joe and Mika talked about the "What Is Working" panel I attended earlier this endless week -- the one where Tom Brokaw and John Kasich and some random rich foundation people solved unemployment forever.

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And then they talked about sleeping, which is Huffington's new favorite thing. Sleep is pretty nice. Arianna and I agree on that front.

The segment began with a still photo of Arianna Huffington herself giving some lucky guy a massage at the Huffington Post's "Huffington Post Oasis," a weird lounge where journalists get free Fiji Water,* massages, yoga classes and naps.

"Given what we just saw at the Oasis, you clearly have created some jobs there," genial idiot Michael Steele said, chuckling. Well, sure. Some of the workers at the Oasis have (temporary) jobs, where they get paid and stuff. And some of them, including the people giving out the massages to generally well-paid journalists and VIP guests, are unpaid "volunteers."

The Huffington Post donated $40,000 to a yoga nonprofit in lieu of hiring masseuses (and yoga instructors).

Ordained Zen priest, author and Oasis volunteer angel Kyodo Williams says it is inaccurate and unfair to say the volunteers were "conned," because they are fulfilling the yogic value of service by providing free labor to people who are paid by for-profit media companies to attend this convention.

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At the HuffPo you can "meet the volunteers," who are "enthusiastic about giving back," because somehow the idea that giving free massages to people who could easily afford to pay for them is in some way "giving back." You can read interviews with the volunteer laborers and decide for yourself if they were "conned" regarding the charitable nature of their service here. "I wanted to be a part of making the world a better place," says one unpaid massage therapist. And if you think rubbing down Arianna Huffington's friends makes the world a better place, please feel free to volunteer to staff the DNC Oasis in Charlotte.

[*Requisite disclaimer: Fiji Water is environmentally disastrous and the company supports the military junta that seized control of Fiji in 2006. You should not buy or drink or support Fiji Water.]


Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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