By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act April 11, 2013 at 7:08PM
This should be of interest to all you actors out there who read this blog.
Remember that fall 2011 lawsuit that was filed by an actress suing Amazon.com for more than $1 million for revealing her age on its Internet Movie Database website (or IMDB, which Amazon.com owns), and refusing to remove the reference when asked?
The actress, who later was forced to reveal herself by the courts, and who is professionally known as Junie Hoang, accused IMDb of misusing her personal information after she signed up for the industry/paid version of the site that we use here at S&A, IMDbPro, in 2008. Shortly thereafter, she noticed her legal date of birth had been added to her public acting profile. She requested that it be removed and IMDb refused, and then came the lawsuit.
"In the entertainment industry, youth is king [...] If one is perceived to be 'over-the-hill,' i.e., approaching 40, it is nearly impossible for an up-and-coming actress, such as the plaintiff, to get work as she is thought to have less of an 'upside,' therefore, casting directors, producers, directors, agents-manager, etc. do not give her the same opportunities, regardless of her appearance or talent [...] While she loses opportunities because of her age, she's also missing work because of her youthful appearance [...] Plaintiff has experienced rejection in the industry for each "40-year-old" role for which she has interviewed because she does not and cannot physically portray the role of a 40-year-old woman," the lawsuit stated.
Ms Hoang is 42 years old, meaning she was 40 when the suit was filed.
She accused Amazon.com/IMDB of breach of contract, fraud, and violation of privacy and consumer protection laws, seeking $75,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.
As I recall in the fall 2011 S&A post on this suit, many of you actors (and countless others away from this site) came to her defense, as did even the Screen Actors Guild!
Unfortunately, over a year and a short court trial later, despite all that support, this afternoon, a jury in Seattle sided with Amazon.com/IMDB on the suit, saying that the website didn't breach any legal obligations in revealing the actress' age.
The trial didn't even take very long - just 2 days, earlier this week - and the jury reached its verdict fairly quickly, handing a loss to Ms Hoang.
So, my question is, what does this mean for all you actors out there who understand and commiserate with Junie Hoang, with respect to your reliance on IMDB?
The Hollywood Reporter has been covering the trial all week.