IMDb Will Show Actors' Ages Again After Judge Rules Censorship Unconstitutional
Published Feb 23, 2018In addition to being a place where you can double- and triple-check that you've seen every single Adam Sandler movie, IMDb is also a major industry resource for everyone in Hollywood. As a result, they've been taking steps to become more progressive but one big change has been deemed unconstitutional.
Last year, a California law was passed that allowed actors to ban IMDb from publishing their ages on their profile pages. The goal of the law was to minimize age discrimination from Hollywood's casting directors.
Though the law was backed by SAG-AFTRA, IMDb launched a lawsuit to block the law. Earlier this week, they won their case.
As The Hollywood Reporter explains, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria has granted IMDb's motion for summary judgment and placed the law on pause. Chhabria argues that the law is unconstitutional:
Even if California had shown that the law was passed after targeted efforts to eliminate discrimination in the entertainment industry had failed, the law is not narrowly tailored. For one, the law is underinclusive, in that it bans only one kind of speaker from disseminating age-related information, leaving all other sources of that information untouched. Even looking just at IMDb.com, the law requires IMDb to take down some age-related information — that of the members of its subscription service who request its removal — but not the age-related information of those who don't subscribe to IMDbPro, or who don't ask IMDb.com to take their information down.
Further, Chhabria argued that the issue at hand was not age discrimination but sex discrimination:
Movie producers don't typically refuse to cast an actor as a leading man because he's too old for the leading woman; it is the prospective leading woman who can't get the part unless she's much younger than the leading man. TV networks don't typically jettison male news anchors because they are perceived as too old; it is the female anchors whose success is often dependent on their youth. This is not so much because the entertainment industry has a problem with older people per se. Rather, it's a manifestation of the industry's insistence on objectifying women, overvaluing their looks while devaluing everything else. The defendants barely acknowledge this, much less explain how a law preventing one company from posting age-related information on one website could discourage the entertainment industry from continuing to objectify and devalue women. If the government is going to attempt to restrict speech, it should at least develop a clearer understanding of the problem it's trying to solve.
Read Chhabria's full statement here. It's unlikely that this is the last we'll hear about this legal battle.