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Actress Sues Internet Movie Database for Revealing Her True Age

Huh.  I guess you really can look up anything on the Internet, including the age of someone who specifically doesn’t want their age to be discovered.

An unnamed actress is suing Amazon, the owner of the second most popular movie website on the web (after Daily Actor, of course… right?) the Internet Movie Database for $1 million. 

Why?  Her true age is listed on the website.  And as any actress will tell you, ageism is definitely an issue in Hollywood.  Face it: can you name ten actresses who work regularly (and by regularly I mean “more than one movie per year”) that are over the age of 45?  How about 50?  60?  It seems that male actors get a bit of a leeway — heck, I have no qualms about seeing Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in action roles even though both of them are over sixty.  I can’t say I’d be as interested in seeing a sixty year old woman in something similar (although Helen Mirren was awesome in Red).  We’ve seen actors play leading roles well into their seventies — for actresses, well, that’s simply not an as common opportunity.   According to The Hollywood Reporter, “The woman, who is said to be of Asian descent, says in the complaint filed in federal court in Seattle that she signed up for the pro version of Internet Movie Database in 2008. Soon thereafter, she noticed that the legal date of her birth was listed on her public profile. The plaintiff believes that the site was able to obtain her information because in signing up to IMDb Pro, she was required to give detailed personal and credit card information.” 

The complaint filled in court goes on to state, “If one is perceived to be ‘over-the-hill,’ i.e. approaching 40, it is nearly impossible for an up-and-coming actress, such as the Plaintiff, to get work as she is thought to have less of an ‘upside’ therefore casting directors, producers, directors, agents/managers, etc. do not give her the same opportunities, regardless of her appearance and talent.”  She claims to have asked the website to remove her age numerous times, but her request has not been fulfilled. 

There’s definitely two sides to this argument; after all, age-shaving is a tried-and-true practice in the acting industry.  Then again, shaving off a few years won’t really help you if you don’t actually look that age (I mean, how many actors in their late twenties are playing teenagers on weekly teen dramas?), and talent always rises to the top regardless of age.  Then again, do you consider your birth year “private information”? 

Let us know what you think, readers!  What are your thoughts on the lawsuit?

8 Comments

  1. Belinda Panelo via Facebook

    October 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Ridiculous. Has she lost a role because someone looked at her imdb page and then decided to pass? Doubt it. My imdb page has my age on it and I didn’t put it there. It doesn’t bother me and I’m approaching 40 as well. Wreaks of desperation. Sad.

  2. Daily Actor via Facebook

    October 19, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Yeah, I seriously doubt a casting director would take the time to look at her IMDB page when casting her. I’m thinking she’d play minor characters at best and really, no one is going to take the time to look that stuff up. If you look the part or age, you look the part/age.

  3. Thomas Garner via Facebook

    October 19, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Disclosing that info without her permission is clearly a violation of her privacy. Plus, a million dollar lawsuit sure pays better than Sag Ultra Low Budget Deferred Modified Deferred Screw the Actor Contracts

  4. CT

    October 20, 2011 at 9:39 am

    I also don’t want my age up on IMDB. When casting directors and agents find out how old I really am (I’m a very weirdly young looking 30-year old who always books roles in theater as a 16 year old and on film as a college student) they look at me funny. They don’t know how to categorize me in their minds. Instead of it being a bonus, as you might imagine it would be, it becomes a problem. I’m dead serious. I run into this all the time. I depend on people not knowing my real age.

  5. Lance Carter

    October 20, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Heck, I don’t want anyone knowing my age. My girlfriend had to force it out of me :)

    But, I totally agree with you. If you ‘look’ a certain age, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be hired for that part. I don’t know why IMDB is so adamant about not removing ages on the site. Seems to me not to be a big deal but for whatever reason, they haven’t.

  6. JP

    October 21, 2011 at 11:56 am

    It’s different for women. I had a casting director years ago ask my age (illegal, but she was matching me with another character). I knew the actor so I lied. Had I told her my real age, I would never have booked the part. People have little to no imagination and whether you look younger or not, if they know you are of a certain age you’ve had it, that’s why they’re not allowed to ask your age, just range.

  7. Lance Carter

    October 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Oh yeah, totally lie. They’ll never find out. And good for you that you did it. And even better that you booked the part :)

  8. Catherine Overfelt

    November 2, 2011 at 3:49 am

    Oh yes she should sue! Any one especially a woman who disagrees just hasn’t had the pass over happen to her yet. You are the age you look not what your birthday says. AND YES I know plenty of people who lost jobs because of age. And once they know your age they have no imagination anymore, they won’t even call you in!!! Your age is private and yes if they look at your IMDb page and see your age and its close to 40 or over, they don’t even look its just NEXT! Some people need to face reality and the TV news shows need to do the same. Please remember you’re talking about someone’s livelihood. Show some respect. Announcing birthdays is fine announcing how old you are IS NOT COOL! I would love to see someone who announces someone’s age and they are older themselves, lose their job when their producer finds out how old they are. AND in this business its acceptable, in any other job its age discrimination and you can sue!

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