- Screen Actor’s Guild represents 160,000 people in the entertainment industry
- On behalf of Hollywood actresses, it tried to ban a film website sharing ages
- However, a judge has now reversed the law because it breaches free speech
President of the the Screen Actors Guild Gabrielle Carteris said that a law that barred a movie website from sharing actress’ ages would combat ageism in Hollywood
For many women of a certain vintage, disclosing your exact age is something to be avoided
But Hollywood actresses went a step further, with their union trying to ban a film website from revealing how old they are.
The Screen Actors Guild – which represents 160,000 people in entertainment – lobbied for the law to ‘protect’ its members from ‘age discrimination’.
Now that attempt to censor facts has been overturned, with a judge saying it breached the right to free speech.
The ban was aimed at IMDb, or Internet Movie Database, a public website which holds information on thousands of stars and their films.
Under the law, which came into effect in July last year, the site’s commercial arm, a subscription service known as IMDb Pro, would have had to remove details of stars’ ages and birthdays from their profiles if they requested it.
When the legislation was initially passed, the union’s president Gabrielle Carteris said: ‘It is time to stop the ageism that permeates Hollywood’s casting process.’
But IMDb sued the state of California, where the law was enacted, with the site’s lawyers arguing that censoring an actor’s age would ‘chill free speech and undermine public access to factual information’.
And after hearing IMDb’s appeal, District Judge Vince Chhabria said ageism in Hollywood primarily affects women but had not been properly tackled by the ban, which he called ‘unconstitutional’.
The rules didn’t apply to other sites such as Wikipedia.
The SAG said it will appeal the ruling.