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SAG, AFTRA take on IMDb

Unions aim to alter site's practice of publishing birth dates

Hollywood’s performers’ unions have attacked IMDb for publishing the actual dates of birth of thousands of actors without their consent.

The Screen Actor Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists went public with the issue Thursday via a joint statement. The unions asserted that they had been unsuccessful in efforts to persuade IMBd to alter its practice.

A rep for IMDb was not immediately available to comment.

SAG and AFTRA said most of the affected actors aren’t celebrities but rank-and-file actors whose names are unknown to the general public.

“When their actual ages then become known to casting personnel, the 10+ year age range that many of them can portray suddenly shrinks, and so do their opportunities to work,” the unions said.

SAG and AFTRA said businesses like IMDb have a “moral and legal obligation” not to facilitate age discrimination in employment.

“Entertainment industry employers who would never directly ask a potential employee’s age routinely access that information through IMDb and its professional subscription site IMDbPro. IMDb has the power to remove the temptation for employers to engage in age discrimination by accessing this information,” the unions said.

The unions also said they were “disappointed” that IMDb has rejected the efforts of SAG, AFTRA and other entertainment industry unions and workers to work together to reach a solution to this problem.

“It is time for IMDb to step up and take responsibility for the harm it has caused, and to take appropriate measures to protect entertainment industry workers, including actors, from losing jobs for the enhancement of IMDb’s financial statements,” the statement concluded.

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