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California Enacts Law Requiring IMDb To Remove Actor Ages On Request (hollywoodreporter.com) 319

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed legislation that requires certain entertainment sites, such as IMDb, to remove -- or not post in the first place -- an actor's age or birthday upon request, reports Hollywood Reporter. From the report: The law, which becomes effective Jan. 1, 2017, applies to entertainment database sites that allow paid subscribers to post resumes, headshots or other information for prospective employers. Only a paying subscriber can make a removal or nonpublication request. Although the legislation may be most critical for actors, it applies to all entertainment job categories. "Even though it is against both federal and state law, age discrimination persists in the entertainment industry," Majority Leader Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, said in a statement. "AB 1687 provides the necessary tools to remove age information from online profiles on employment referral websites to help prevent this type of discrimination."Bloomberg columnist, Shira Ovide said, "Congratulations, IMDB. You have now become the subject of California law." Slate writer Will Oremus added, "Sometimes I start to think California is not such a bad place and then they go and do something like this."
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California Enacts Law Requiring IMDb To Remove Actor Ages On Request

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  • Comment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WallyL ( 4154209 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:06AM (#52963003)

    Isn't that directory information? I suppose removing it from imdb.com makes it harder to learn an actor's age, but it's still out there people. You're in the public eye. Knowing exactly how old Natalie Portman is because imdb prominently displays it doesn't change anything.

    • Re:Comment (Score:4, Funny)

      by operagost ( 62405 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:29AM (#52963187) Homepage Journal

      Natalie Portman is still so fresh-faced. Just doesn't look her age. Must not have aged while she was petrified.

      HOT GRITS POURED DOWN MY PANTS

    • Acting is one of those professions where age discrimination probably isn't going away.... type casting isn't going away either.

      Carry Fisher and Harrison Ford aren't going to be the stars of the any teen movies unless they are cast as mom and dad.

      • Acting is one of those professions where age discrimination probably isn't going away.... type casting isn't going away either.

        Carry Fisher and Harrison Ford aren't going to be the stars of the any teen movies unless they are cast as mom and dad.

        The world is one of those places where age discrimination probably isn't going away.

        And I'm pretty sure the aforementioned celebrities both understand why they're no longer being cast in bikini/topless roles, and do not assume they're an unfair victim of discrimination when asked to play Grandma or Grandpa roles these days. Common sense.

        We humans don't stay pretty forever, no matter what a plastic surgeon is selling.

    • by jjn1056 ( 85209 )

      I don't think this is aimed at people like Natalie Portman so much. Age discrimination is a real problem. This is aimed to help out people that don't have her stature and her resources.

  • Only IMDB? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hartree ( 191324 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:11AM (#52963031)

    So, we'll have it that Wikipedia can post age data about an actor or some other public figure, but IMDB can't?

    • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:17AM (#52963093) Journal

      That makes perfect sense, in California politico-legal logic. This is, after all, the same state that gave us the glorious legal logic "racial discrimination is mandatory by law because racial discrimination is illegal".

      • by barc0001 ( 173002 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @12:19PM (#52963595)

        Not to mention their idiotic proposition 65 that forced the labeling of everything and every location that might cause cancer with:

        "WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm."

        Which as it turns out is now posted EVERYWHERE. I remember going there for business and it was posted in the elevator of the hotel because I'm not even sure why, but probably one or more of the materials somewhere in the building triggered it. But it's everywhere, gas stations, grocery stores, banks, hardware stores, there's even a sign at Disneyland for God's sake.

        The net effect is if the warning is everywhere, everyone ignores it.

        • CH2O is an essential compound using by the human body to produce other, more complex compounds. Your body maintains a fairly steady 2 ppm CH2O by releasing any excess as you exhale. California bans plywood containing any more than 0.05 PPM - because CH20 is "known to the State of California to cause cancer". Your body needs 50 times that level. Apparently California didn't notice that even eating the plywood would REDUCE the overall concentration of CH2O (formaldehyde) in the body.

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      Wikipedia doesn't allow paid subscribers to post resumes, headshots or other information for prospective employers.

      • by suutar ( 1860506 )

        exactly. That means they can't be requested to remove the information, so it's still going to be available.

  • Actors Age (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:12AM (#52963035)

    Instead of displaying age:

    Age: This actor is so ancient they do not wish it displayed.

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      Age: Unavailable.
      Wikipedia: [name of the actor linked to the Wikipedia page]

      • If I were an actor I would plea for a law to would allow me to write there any age I want to. Picture this ...
        - Talentless-star-wannabe: ... And how old are you ... darling?
        - Old fart celebrity: 34 honey ...
        - Talentless-star-wannabe: Let's check IMDb ...
        - Old fart: See !?
  • by _xeno_ ( 155264 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:14AM (#52963059) Homepage Journal

    It seems unlikely to me that Hollywood has an age discrimination issue. It seems much more likely that Hollywood has a looks discrimination policy, and merely hiding the numeric age of an actor or actress isn't going to resolve this.

    If an actor doesn't look the age for a part, they're not going to get the role. Trying to hide their "real" age won't help with that. Nothing short of completely changing Hollywood culture - and, really, American culture - to not be so youth-focused will change that. And that's not an easy task, and certainly not something this law will help with.

    This is clearly a "this is something, so we're doing something about the problem!" law. It won't help in any way, but at least it's a bullet point on some lawmaker's resume!

    • Yeah I don't see hiding the ages preventing the studios from casting actresses as love interest for men their father's ages. And in an industry where they try to cast an actor of the right race, weight, height, etc (and occasionally get criticized for the same)... I'm not sure how standard anti-prejudice laws can work well.
    • It seems unlikely to me that Hollywood has an age discrimination issue.

      Oh they certainly do have an age discrimination issue, particularly for female actresses. They also have race discrimination issues, gender discrimination issues, and lots more besides. This isn't even a debate. The evidence is undeniable.

      If an actor doesn't look the age for a part, they're not going to get the role.

      That might have some credibility if they didn't also hire actresses who do not look the role at all. See Emma Stone in Aloha. See whitewashing [wikipedia.org]. Same thing happens with them hiring actresses who are FAR too young for the role they are playing.

      • It seems unlikely to me that Hollywood has an age discrimination issue.

        Oh they certainly do have an age discrimination issue, particularly for female actresses.

        Society has an age discrimination issue. Most of us, even women, would rather look at a fresh-faced young girl than at a woman with lines on her face. We'd rather look at perky boobs than saggy ones. Is it even possible to fix the problem of age bias in Hollywood, and if so, would that actually help address the problem of age discrimination in society? Or would there just be a lot of bitching about how feminist laws are compromising entertainment, ala Ghostbusters? (I don't have an opinion on that movie, which I haven't seen; I'm only characterizing the complaints.)

        If an actor doesn't look the age for a part, they're not going to get the role.

        That might have some credibility if they didn't also hire actresses who do not look the role at all. See Emma Stone in Aloha. See whitewashing. Same thing happens with them hiring actresses who are FAR too young for the role they are playing.

        Yeah, I thought that was a bullshit argument, too. The truth is that they're going to hire the prettiest, most popular actress to play the role, and part of that means hiring the youngest one that can more or less carry it off because that's what puts asses in seats. I shouldn't have to be the one to tell you this, either. The degree to which youth equals beauty has been explored nigh unto death by everyone and their mom, especially as she ages.

        • Society has an age discrimination issue. Most of us, even women, would rather look at a fresh-faced young girl than at a woman with lines on her face.

          Whatever issues society has, it doesn't follow that a movie producer has to indulge them because of some unsupported delusion that people won't pay to see a quality actress in an age appropriate role. Or a black actor. Or an asian one. Frankly I think there is a lot of credibility to the argument that a movie with some integrity would be more likely to attract fans than a movie that plunks whatever starlet-of-the-month into the role regardless of what it does to the movie.

          Is it even possible to fix the problem of age bias in Hollywood, and if so, would that actually help address the problem of age discrimination in society?

          Given that they are the image ma

          • Is it possible to fix? Maybe. Won't be easy though. The key would be proving that age discrimination is actually harmful to the economic outcome for a film. Challenging case to make since they don't let a lot of people who aren't white and young (if women) into movies to test the theory.

            I suspect it's also going to be a challenging case to make because it's wrong. They simply also make movies which appeal to that audience, which is not interested in big special effects and whatnot. Different audience, different budget, different casting. And different release strategy as well; many of those movies are direct-to-video.

    • It seems much more likely that Hollywood has a looks discrimination policy

      Hollywood aren't the consumers of the actors' work. They are the middlemen. We — the world-wide audience of viewers — discriminate. We want to be entertained by sexually-appealing people, which generally means younger ones. There is no escaping this — trying to legislate it away is just the kind of stupidity, for which California has been known (and mocked) for decades.

      (Heinlein's Friday [wikipedia.org] (1982) is a good example of

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      It's not even a issue if the discrimination is done for a bona fide occupational qualification [wikipedia.org].

      It's also not just actors although they are visibly the most obvious example of looking an age. Directors, producers, other production staff, etc would also be covered. Not usually appearing on camera, it's harder to argue that they need to look an age in order to properly perform their job, yet they are the subject of ageism as well.

    • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

      You need to discriminate on appearance when it comes to acting roles, having someone with wrinkles and remnants of grey hair playing a teenage character would just look stupid.

      There are plenty of roles for older actors because plenty of movies and tv shows feature older characters. You don't hear young actors complaining they weren't chosen to play a grandfather character.

      Movie producers are just choosing actors who are appropriate to the role as envisaged in the story.

    • In any case, discrimination in Hollywood is not a "problem"... it's by design. We, as a society, have for whatever reasons decided that Hollywood can feel free to consider race, gender, age, etc in a way that most businesses are not allowed. California is being a little bit schizophrenic here in that they still allow Hollywood to discriminate based on age but they want to mitigate the effects of this by forbidding the sharing of age information.

    • by Jaime2 ( 824950 )

      Hollywood is the place where they cast one of the 10 most beautiful people in the world for a role of a homely older person and then spend three hours in makeup every day getting her to look just right. And, they do this while there is a line of talented, average looking, age appropriate women around the block looking for work.

      Personally, I don't think they do it because of age discrimination. I think they do it because there's only a handful of actresses that will guarantee ticket sales just by casting the

  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:16AM (#52963077) Journal
    "Registrant Organization: IMDb.com, Inc.
    Registrant Street: Legal Dept, PO Box 81226,
    Registrant City: Seattle
    Registrant State/Province: WA"

    Dear California: How about "go fuck yourself". That a good answer?

    Oh, you don't want IMDB operating in your state? Perhaps you could build some sort of Great Firewall. That's worked out so well for China (and North Korea).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nnull ( 1148259 )
      They may have an office in California. I'm pretty sure they'll shut it down and a few people laid off. California doing its best to make the whole state unemployed.
    • by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:29AM (#52963185) Homepage

      IMDBPro, the paid service that the entertainment industry can subscribe to for finding work (among other things), appears to be based in Santa Monica based on the careers page [imdb.com]. That'd make it subject to California law.

      • No reason those jobs have be in Santa Monica though. Or anywhere else in CA. Move them to Seattle like the rest of the company.

         

        • No reason those jobs have be in Santa Monica though. Or anywhere else in CA. Move them to Seattle like the rest of the company.

          Maybe this Google query [google.com] will give you a hint as to why they have an office in Santa Monica.

          Hint: It isn't because top networking specialists and PHP programmers are best found in Los Angeles.

    • It's a subsidiary of Amazon, though, so I'm not sure how that is viewed under the law.

  • California (Score:2, Funny)

    by Dan East ( 318230 )

    "Sometimes I start to think California is not such a bad place..."

    Well there's your mistake right there.

  • Separate IMDB into the promotional site and the informational site; spin the informational site off as a 501(c(3)) non-profit. Make the for profit promotional site a permanent trustee and committed donor to the informational site, while IMDB-Pro operates as a for profit site. Even if denied federal non-profit status, they'd still be separate and exempt from the California law, IMNALO (In My Not A Lawyer Opinion)... They might consult some lawyers to see if that's viable. Alternately do what other corporatio
    • OR, you can say it violates the 1st Amendment.

      Why are we pussyfooting around the idea that California Liberals do no care about the Constitution. This is such a no-brainer.

  • by HBI ( 604924 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:25AM (#52963155) Journal

    This is just dumb - publicly available, non-PII information banned because you run a particular type of website.

  • New IMDB feature (Score:5, Informative)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:27AM (#52963167)

    "Click here for a list of actors who are so insecure that we cannot show you their age. Next to it you find a link to their Wikipedia entry."

  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:31AM (#52963199)

    If Hollywood actually gave a shit about age as much as this article claims they do, then plastic surgery wouldn't still be running rampant today.

    Hollywood cares about how you look, not how old a piece of paper says you are. They've cast plenty of twenty-somethings as teenagers, and the sheer power of makeup has allowed actors and actresses of all ages to portray dozens of roles that are either much younger or much older than their actual age. I find this particular information filter totally pointless.

    • Hollywood cares about how you look, not how old a piece of paper says you are

      This reminds me of Guy Pearce in Prometheus. Ridley Scott got a 44 year old to play a 90 year old dude, required over 5 hours of makeup, and he doesn't even appear as his younger self in the final film release. Why didn't he just get a 90 year old to play that part?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      • by sremick ( 91371 )

        This reminds me of Guy Pearce in Prometheus. Ridley Scott got a 44 year old to play a 90 year old dude, required over 5 hours of makeup, and he doesn't even appear as his younger self in the final film release. Why didn't he just get a 90 year old to play that part?

        From: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt14... [imdb.com]

        Ridley Scott initially wanted Max von Sydow for the role of Peter Weyland. However, Scott and Damon Lindelof conceived of a scene in which David the android (Michael Fassbender) would interface with Weyland while in hypersleep, and that Weyland's dream would reflect his looks as a younger man since he is obsessed with immortality. Though the scene was cut from the script and never filmed, Guy Pearce had already been cast in the role and thus underwent extensive make-up to appear elderly. Fortunately, Pearce was also allowed to appear as the younger Peter Weyland giving a TED Talk in one of the promotional clips of the movie. A longer version of this clip is available as a bonus feature on the home theater edition.

      • The fake TED talk used as a promo trailer. Pretty ingenious marketing actually: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
      • Max von Sydow was Scott's original choice to play Weyland, but the casting of Pearce made it possible for him to portray Weyland as both an elderly character, and a younger man who appeared in an earlier script draft.

        Right there on the page you linked to.

        Personally I think Guy Pearce is a terrible actor. Even Max Von Sydow couldn't have saved Prometheus, though.

  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:33AM (#52963209)
    I can't figure out that if they had their first appearance in 1965 they're probably at least 60? It ain't about age but having the look the directors want...
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:37AM (#52963245) Journal

    ...California sure spends a lot of effort protecting/catering to multi-millionaires.

  • by SumDog ( 466607 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:42AM (#52963283) Homepage Journal

    This feels like a total 1st amendment violation in every possible way.

    I know in the US we have exceptions for first amendment, but this is hardly child porn. I can see how it can be an issue for age discrimination, but it's more a burden on the employer to no utilize this information. Besides, doesn't birthday come back on most standard background checks anyway?

  • Stupid law (Score:5, Funny)

    by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:48AM (#52963317) Homepage

    But, is there some angle where we could blame Republicans for it?

  • by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:49AM (#52963325)
    Why not just allow their birthdays to be posted, but forbid addition and subtraction?
  • by PMuse ( 320639 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:57AM (#52963395)

    This law says, you may not publish true information because some one else might do something discriminatory with it.

    But, we already have laws forbidding the discriminatory thing that might happen. So, this law abridging freedom of speech and of the press is necessary why, exactly?

    Answer: It isn't necessary at all. This is exactly the "won't someone think of the children" thinking that suckers us into whittling our rights away into nothing, one sliver at a time.

  • Well, as long as his priorities are in order.

  • you can't subscribe to imdb2.com. you can't have a membership of any kind. There's no one to pay. So that means it can legally post ages and birthdates. done.

  • Californian once more proves it needs to slide off into the ocean and be gone....

    • Californian once more proves it needs to slide off into the ocean and be gone....

      Didn't Hollywood recently make a movie about that?

  • Odd (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Archfeld ( 6757 ) <treboreel@live.com> on Monday September 26, 2016 @12:06PM (#52963473) Journal

    I was under the impression that Birth, Death, and marriage information was publically available in California.

    http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic... [ca.gov]

    It would seem that this law is in violation of the existing laws, but IANAL, nor am I a rich 'celebrity'. Hollywood folks seem generally above most laws, or at least shielded from them.

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @12:14PM (#52963551)

    You will croak, you little clown
    When you mess with President Brown!

  • The movie industry isn't anywhere near as bad as the porn industry. They don't seem to hire anyone over or under the age of 18. I mean let's face it most actors in the porn industry remain 18 long after the cellulite starts showing from under their schoolgirl outfit.

    Or so a friend told me. Can someone verify this for me? I don't know because I don't watch such stuff. *whistles and looks at the ceiling*.

  • This is as dumb as the 'right to be forgotten'. Tell that to a sex offender. Oh, wait, the EU wants to use 'right to be forgotten' to sanitize a powerful person's past history of sordid acts. As if this makes sense. Rendering the truth illegal is a very interesting step, no?

    But this is California, the land of the irrational. Most any serious casting director can use IMDB etc to work through an actor's history and make reasonable assumptions. Look through Helen Mirren's filmography, and you can reasonably conclude she is older than 60. Duh. And she's still fabulous.

    the complaint her isn't the obviously old actors, it's the difficult older-than-they-seem bunch. In an industry based on illusion, it is both remarkable and understandable that they rely on perception, and if an actor is perceived as older than the role, or perceived age is critical to a role, well, they 'need' to address that.

    In every way, though, this is a stupid idea. No one who intends to benefit from this will. No one.

  • To everyone slamming California and "Hollywood" for this, how would you feel if your profile on LinkedIn or any other employment site posted your age without you having any choice about it? And what if those profiles were created without any participation on your part? I see people on Slashdot complaining about ageism in the IT industry all the time, and they don't even have to deal with something like this. IMDB is basically an employment profile site for people in the entertainment industry, and it's the

  • I'm not sure this would be a big problem for famous actors, but knowing someone's date of birth is an important piece is building a portfolio for identity theft. I think it's quite reasonable for people not to want their birth date published.

    • by dskoll ( 99328 )

      Ugh... important piece of...

      And yeah, I'm aware this wasn't the motivation for the law, but sometimes you can accidentally get something right for the wrong reasons.

  • Dear California lawmakers,

    We hate you.

    Sincerely,
    The rest of the nation

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