California Passes Bill Requiring IMDb To Remove Actors’ Ages From Site — But Does The Law Prevent Age Discrimination Or Suppress Free Speech?
This is an interesting law to have been passed!
On Saturday afternoon, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation requiring entertainment websites like IMDb to remove — or not post in the first place — an actor’s age or birthday upon request from the specific actor.
The law, known now as AB 1687, will take effect on January 1, and applies almost exclusively to the entertainment industry in a bid to prevent rampant age discrimination in Hollywood and elsewhere.
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The law applies to any entertainment database site (like IMDb) that allows paid subscribers to post head shots, resumes, and other information for prospective employers.
And while it doesn’t just apply to actors, but rather the entire industry, it stands that actors will likely be the most affected ones here.
Gabrielle Carteris, a SAG-AFTRA spokeswoman, spoke about the bill being passed and what it will do for performers now that this has been taken seriously, saying:
“On behalf of everyone in the industry who has struggled with age discrimination, whose opportunities to showcase their talent may have been blocked, I want to thank Gov. Brown and the bill’s author, Assembly member Ian Calderon. It is time to stop the ageism that permeates Hollywood’s casting process. This problem exists for all performers, but most distinctly for women. Performers create characters and often employ illusion to do so. That’s acting.”
And Ian Calderon, the Assemblyman who initially authored the bill, added his thoughts, saying in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter:
“Requiring websites to remove all age information from profiles would seem to run afoul of the First Amendment restrictions on the regulation of commercial speech. Limiting the bill to only subscribers makes it clear that the bill advances an important government interest – that of reducing age discrimination in a manner that is substantially related to that interest and no more extensive than necessary to achieve that interest. While age information for Hollywood’s biggest stars is readily available from other online sources, this bill is aimed at protecting lesser known actors and actresses competing for smaller roles. These actors should not be excluded from auditioning simply based on their age.”
Interesting — but the entire thing isn’t so cut and dry.
There are those who have argued against the bill, including free speech proponents on the Internet, who make the case that not presenting factually correct information online isn’t a good thing.
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Noah Theran, a spokesman for the Internet Association, said:
“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.”
And Michael Beckerman, the Internet Association’s President, also had bad things to say about the bill in a statement he had written earlier before the final vote was cast:
“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 information.”
Regardless, the bill apparently passed easily in the California Legislature, and so soon, it shall be a law.
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What do U think, Perezcious readers?! Is this a good law to have, to prevent age discrimination?? Or is it important that factually correct information lives online??
Let us know in the comments (below)![Image via IMDb.]