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Actress Suing IMDB (Amazon) For $1 Million For Revealing Her Age (Things That Make You Go Hmm...)

by Tambay A. Obenson
October 18, 2011 9:17 AM
9 Comments
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If I hadn't dated a few actresses in my adult life, and listened to them talk about their professional experiences, I may not have completely understood this lawsuit; one example, a late-20-something-year-old actress who usually gets cast in teen roles (because she looks and sounds like a teen) may jeopardize what could be a lucrative stream of gigs in which she's cast as a teen, if her true late-20-something age is revealed and widely known. This is probably more of a concern for *struggling* actresses and actors, than for those who are already *established."

There's a longer explanation, so consider this the condensed version. I'll leave the elaborate response to our readers who happen to be actors/actresses, as I'm guessing their opinions on the matter vary.

Here's the report, courtesy of MSN Entertainment:

SEATTLE (AP) -- An actress is suing Amazon.com in federal court in Seattle for more than $1 million for revealing her age on its Internet Movie Database website and refusing to remove the reference when asked.

The actress is not named in the lawsuit filed Thursday that refers to her as Jane Doe. It says she lives in Texas and is of Asian descent and has an Americanized stage name.

Search: Actresses over 40

The lawsuit accuses IMDb of misusing her personal information after she signed up for the industry insider IMDbPro service 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, the lawsuit says.

"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," the lawsuit states.

While she loses opportunities because of her age, she's also missing work because of her youthful appearance, the lawsuit says.

"Plaintiff has experience 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 says.

The online retailer and its movie database subsidiary, both based in Seattle, are accused of breach of contract, fraud, and violation of privacy and consumer protection laws.

The lawsuit seeks $75,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.

Calls and emails to Amazon and IMDb seeking comment Tuesday were not immediately returned.

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9 Comments

  • actorAgainstBS | October 19, 2011 7:52 AMReply

    I'm with her on this suit too!

    IMDB is something else! They take forever to add an actual credit to my profile b'cos they don't believe I was actually cast in the production. BUT, I've been fighting with them for over a year to take down a bogus credit that some director I worked with years ago manufactured from thin air....nope! its still on there! I did one film with this dude when I was 18 or 19(8 years ago!(...but he has me listed on 3 of his film! One of which was supposedly shot a year ago..I'm sure I'd remember if I was in another of his films last year!!!!!! ... :-l

  • Just Sayin' | October 19, 2011 2:29 AMReply

    Everyone knows IMDB is not reliable. Any casting director who uses it to check references should get a new career. How did this make it on Shadow & Act? The actress is not black. Slow work week?

  • Ghost | October 19, 2011 2:14 AMReply

    She's fussing about her age being disclosed?

    Did she not see the 20+ years 90210 was on? Most of them were 40! Smae with Stacey Dash you can claim to be 20 doing Clueless when you were hanging out with Denzel on the final season of St. Elsewhere in 87.

    She can sue all she likes but the moment she get famous-those HIGH SCHOOL YEARBOOKS pics sure do popup with folks bragging about they went to school with you.

    She's crying about her age being public.
    I think she should be more worried about the lack of Asian roles in Hollywood. Where were all the Asians in Last Airbender and Dragon Ball?

    She wants to prove how marketable she is-go fund your own films Mr. Perry and make Hollywood come after you.

  • ChezCerise | October 18, 2011 12:18 PMReply

    Birth certificates are public record but that does not mean that anyone can walk into a vital statistics office and get a copy of someone else's birth certificate either.

    In MOST, jurisdictions, a random person can only request and obtain someone else's birth certificate if that someone else is their minor child or has been dead for a number of years.

    The public record arguement doesn't hold weight.

  • blaqbird | October 18, 2011 11:29 AMReply

    Yeah I'm with homegirl on this lawsuit. I know many actors who play much younger than their actual ages, and once you disclose your actual age, the wheels in people's heads start clicking and that mess can and probably will get back to the exec. producers. There have been numerous stories about actors who have gotten fired because it was found out that they weren't 18 or british or whatever. The guy on Hannah Montana, who played Hannah's brother, was in his 30s playing a teenager and he obviously had to be in character pretty much all the time--no drinking or smoking or doing anything that an "adult" would do--in order to keep that job. It sucks, but it's just the way H-Wood works and that's real talk.

    And let's be real, casting directors don't usually have time to google an actor; they just go straight to his/her imdb page to get info so I don't think that because your birth certificate is public record, then Amazon should be able to post that on IMDB.

  • Jug | October 18, 2011 10:30 AMReply

    @Donnie-True dat. But there is a difference between an employer Googling your address & the New York Times putting it front page as a matter of S.O.P.

  • Shaun | October 18, 2011 10:19 AMReply

    I read about this earlier today and I initially thought this woman is crazy. But after realizing that Stacey Dash technically played a teenager into her late 30's, I understand why she might be upset. Especially since the woman suing is probably not well known.

    @Donnie Leapheart- I agree with that, info like that is quite easy to find. I also found the address of a random actor going through Google.

  • Donnie Leapheart | October 18, 2011 10:08 AMReply

    I'm not a lawyer but seems if its accurate information in public records (ie: birth certificate, high school graduation info, etc), you can't be sued for disclosing.

    You can find out anyone's age with the click of a few buttons nowadays. Especially actors. I once casually Googled an actor to find out if they had a video reel but instead found their address and mortgage information. O_o!

  • Jug | October 18, 2011 9:52 AMReply

    I agree wholeheartedly with her position. Now, the Million dollar thing, that's window dressing. Only way to make them stand up & do what's right is put a hefty price tag on it...tho I'm sure she'll take that shit if she wins LOL

    It's just a matter of privacy in this business that lends to easy discrimination. If a big muscle-bound dude is trying for all the Stallone/Statham/Schwarzenegger roles gets "outed", his career is done! At least in those tough guy roles. A woman's age is synonymous with her sexuality & in the end, her marketability (since we all know women are there just to be sexy...just kidding please don't shoot me:-D).

    When producer's & CD's can just learn your age quick fast, just that quick you can lose a role. Real talk, if it's like that you're probably not gonna get the role anyway, but it's still garbage. And for a company to put that information out there & then refuse to take it down because they're the 800lb gorilla, knowing full well that it is an industry tool, is unacceptable.

    May sound stupid & trivial, but then again being cast or not cast because you have big ears is also....Could be the difference between 7 figures and NO figures.

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