June 13, 2024

New Law Forces IMDB to Remove Ages

This past Saturday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that requires entertainment site like IMDb to remove an actor’s age or birthday, should the actor request it to be. The law, which becomes effective Jan. 1, 2017, applies to all entertainment database sites that allow paid subscribers to post résumés, headshots or other information for prospective employers. The law applies not just to actors, but to all entertainment job categories, although actors will benefit most from the law. It is designed to help curb age discrimination.

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris (Beverly Hills 90210), had this to say about the law:

“Gov. Jerry Brown today stood with thousands of film and television professionals and concerned Californians who urged him to sign AB 1687, a California law that will help prevent age discrimination in film and television casting and hiring. It is time to stop the ageism that permeates Hollywood’s casting process,” wrote Carteris. “This problem exists for all performers, but most distinctly for women. Performers create characters and often employ illusion to do so. That’s acting. Many actors have endured age discrimination of some sort throughout their careers. Those isolated, individual cases have now morphed into the almost-automatic age discrimination made possible by the online casting services. The information is put front and center before those making the decisions about whom to audition and whom to hire.”

The law is not without its opponents, though. Internet Association spokesman Noah Theran had this to say:

“We are disappointed that AB 1687 was signed into law today. We remain concerned with the bill and the precedent it will set of suppressing factual information on the internet.”

Internet Association president and CEO Michael Beckerman added:

 

“Requiring the removal of factually accurate age information across websites suppresses free speech. This is not a question of preventing salacious rumors; rather it is about the right to present basic facts that live in the public domain. Displaying such information isn’t a form of discrimination, and internet companies should not be punished for how people use public data.”

There is no doubt that there is age discrimination in Hollywood, and there definately should be laws to prevent it like there is any business, however the issue is that knowing or not knowing an actor’s specific age is in no way going to prevent discrimination. Unlike non acting roles, regular jobs do not require the employer to know what the applicant looks like, where as acting does. So whether a casting director knows if an actor or actress is 47 or 57, they are going to base their decision of whether or not the actor is the appropriate age for the role by their looks alone.

Source: THR

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