This past September, the state of California approved Bill No. 1687, which restricts online services from sharing the ages of celebrities. The motivation behind this bill was to prevent age discrimination within the entertainment industry. This is a current pressing issue, and California believes that preventing websites from providing age information would help combat age discrimination. Many Hollywood actors have alleged ageism within the film industry, stating that once a person reaches a certain age, they are typecast or overlooked.
In particular Helen Mirren spoke out about in injustice that many older Hollywood stars face. She focused on the ability for men to avoid this aging stereotype because directors have no problem placing older men with younger women, but it would never be the other way around. This ageism is strongly tied to sexism within the industry, so if the intentions of the bill were to come to fruition, it is hopeful that much of the industry will improve. Not everyone is as forthcoming about the success of the bill.
IMDB, a major online source for all information regarding film and music stars, has just brought a suit against California Attorney General Kamala Harris in order to fight Bill No. 1687. IMDB is alleging that the bill violated its right to free speech. IMDB argues that they also want to help prevent age discrimination in the entertainment industry, but they do not agree that this bill will help achieve that goal. Instead of attempting to fix the problem, IMDB feels that the bill nearly prevents the public from knowing factual information about celebrities, especially since IMDB is constantly working to keep the information up to date. IMDB has even allowed celebrities to join their membership service, which would allow them to remove their age, if they believe that it being shared publicly is harmful for their career.
A representative from the California Attorney General’s office explained that this bill is not necessarily intended to protect major stars, but instead help the celebrities that are not as known when competing for smaller roles. The idea is definitely optimistic, but with all of the different sites that provide information of celebrities age, it raises the question of whether it will actually prevent people from using a different site other than IMDB to get their answers.
The controversy behind this bill has many wondering if IMDB is fighting for celebrities and the public, or if they selfishly want their website to continue flourishing. Whichever IMDB’s reasoning may be, they are hoping to get this bill declared unconstitutional.