AirTalk for October 19, 2011

Hiding your age to dodge over-the-hill discrimination?

IMDb

IMDb is being sued for releasing the date of birth of an unnamed actress. She alleges the information was obtained illicitly.

Everyone who's anyone in Hollywood has a profile page on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). It is crucial exposure to get new gigs. But what if your IMDb profile causes you to lose work opportunities?

That's what an unnamed 40-year-old actress is claiming. She is suing the site for revealing her date of birth – something she had kept secret her entire career. The complaint states: "In the entertainment industry, youth is king. 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 or talent." She says IMDb refuses to remove her true birth date.

To make matters worse, she says while she can no longer get many younger roles, she has been rejected for 40-year old parts too, because she "cannot physically portray the [age]." The actress might have a case, especially if her accusation is true that IMDb unlawfully obtained her date of birth. Regardless of how they get the info, IMDb has been confronted over this issue before. The Writers Guild of America lobbied for all ages to be scrubbed from the site.

WEIGH IN:

What about other industries? Is ageism still alive and kicking across corporate America? Do you hide your age as if it were a classified nuclear code? Has it magically and tragically appeared on the Internet? Have you been the victim or perpetrator of ageism? Does this actress have a case? With an aging population, will we respect age more? How is age perceived in your industry – does it help or hurt?


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