The Internet Movie Database, commonly known as IMDb, is a godsend for anyone watching a movie and wondering, “Where do I know that actor from?”, offering a career rundown of roles for screen actors and cast lists for pretty much every movie and TV show ever made.
One thing we’ll no longer be seeing on the site, however, will be an actor’s age, thanks to a new California law aimed at reducing age discrimination in Hollywood.
Passed overwhelmingly by both houses of the California legislature and signed by California Governor Jerry Brown, the new law will require entertainment sites such as IMDb to remove an actor’s age or birthday upon request, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
“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, Assemblymember Ian Calderon,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris (who, ironically, triumphed over age discrimination herself when she played a 16-year-old on “Beverly Hills, 90210” at the age of 29).
“It is time to stop the ageism that permeates Hollywood’s casting process,” Carteris continued. “This problem exists for all performers, but most distinctly for women. Performers create characters and often employ illusion to do so. That’s acting.”
She added: “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 centre before those making the decisions about whom to audition and whom to hire.”
Not everyone is as thrilled about the new law as Carteris, however, with some seeing the heavy hand of Internet censorship hiding behind the legislation.
“We are disappointed that AB 1687 was signed into law today,” said Noah Theran, spokesman for the Internet Association. “We remain concerned with the bill and the precedent it will set of suppressing factual information on the internet.”
The law is set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.