Screen Actors Guild, AFTRA Take Up Arms Against IMDB

BY Vikram Sethi

Screen Actors Guild (SAG), an American labor union representing over 200,000 film and television performers worldwide, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the union for performers and newspersons in radio and television, have jointly issued a statement deploring the practice of IMDB and similar databases of publishing the acual age of actors.

“Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists strongly believe that businesses like IMDb have a moral and legal obligation not to facilitate age discrimination in employment,” the statement read. What matters is the age rank an actor can play, the joint statement says, and the fact that IMDB is publishing the actual birthdates of thousands of actors without their consent, most of them not celebrities but rank-and-file actors whose names are unknown to the general public, makes them victims of age discrimination, the statement argues.

A 40-year old Texan actress sued IMDB earlier this month, alleging she was losing out on job offers as a result of IMDB posting her real age, and without her consent. The woman’s real name was not revealed in the lawsuit, and she identified herself just as ‘Jane Doe.’ The lawsuit alleges among other things, IMDB used her personal and credit card information, and used that to cross reference public records and other sources, to obtain her legal name, age, and date of birth, among other things.

IMDB is a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.

(Vikram Sethi is editorial intern with He can be reached at [email protected])

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