California Passes Law Requiring Removal of Actor Ages by Database Sites on Request

Gabrielle Carteris
John Salangsang/BFA.com/REX/Shutterstock

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation requiring subscription entertainment database sites, such as IMDb, to remove an actor’s age if requested by the actor.

The legislation, authored by Majority Leader Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), was signed into law on Saturday by Brown, according to the governor’s website.

“Subscribers should have control over whether their age and date of birth are posted on subscription websites used for employment purposes,” Calderon said in June, when the measure passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. “AB 1687 provides a necessary clarification in the law that will help prevent age-based discrimination for individuals seeking employment in the entertainment industry.”

SAG-AFTRA lobbied for the legislation with President Gabrielle Carteris urging members last week to contact Brown.

“Age discrimination is a major problem in our industry, and it must be addressed,” she said in a Sept. 16 post. “SAG-AFTRA has been working hard for years to stop the career damage caused by the publication of performers’ dates of birth on online subscription websites used for casting like IMDb. We are now in the final stages of securing the enactment of a California law that would help combat age discrimination by giving performers the right to request the removal of their date of birth when it’s included on online subscription sites.”

Opponents of the bill contended that removal of factually accurate age information across websites suppresses free speech.

Calderon said AB 1687 specifies that online entertainment employment service providers have five days to comply with a subscriber’s request to remove age information.

SAG-AFTRA, which reps about 165,000 performers, said Saturday, “SAG-AFTRA has been working hard for years to stop the career damage caused by the publication of performers’ dates of birth on online subscription websites used for casting like IMDb and StudioSystem. Currently, many websites used for casting proactively present birthdates and ages to casting decision makers who often can’t avoid seeing this information even if they try. This law will help improve the working lives of all SAG-AFTRA members and aspiring performers.”

Carteris issued a statement following passage of the bill:

“On behalf of everyone in the industry who has struggled with age discrimination, whose opportunities to showcase their talent may have been blocked, I want to thank Gov. Brown and the bill’s author, Assemblymember Ian Calderon, and all the California lawmakers who were instrumental in this effort. I am also grateful to my good friends California Federation of Labor President Art Pulaski, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Congressmen Ted Lieu and Brad Sherman who strongly supported this legislation.

“Thanks also to the Teamsters, WGA-West, the Association of Talent Agents, the AARP of California, and the real heroes: the thousands of SAG-AFTRA members who sent letters, faxes and emails to ensure this passed, and for their public support of this effort. Like all employees, performers deserve a fair opportunity to prove what they can do, and this bill will help them do just that.”

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  1. theliberalbuzz says:

    The stupidity of this law AND it is stupid, is you can find out an actors age with about 9 seconds of searching. If you really want to find out hell Wikipedia usually has it.

    As well, when they are looking for work you have to fill out the required tax forms and show I.D. in a lot of cases and your age is out there for all to see.

    This was the result of a few older actresses whining they were not getting work because of their age being posted as though agents used IMDB as their only way of looking for actors..
    Welcome to Hollywood.

  2. Roger says:

    Nice, so now low budget porn can have children in them, and not be subject to age restrictions….right? DUMBASS’S

  3. Sal U. Lloyd says:

    Go Jerry! — Warren Beatty

  4. GrahamHill2 says:

    If it makes someone feel more in control of their public profile, fine, but if I’m casting a commercial, film, etc. I’m casting for the role, which includes an approximate age among many other criteria. It’s not that hard to estimate someone’s age by examining their credits and in the case of many performers, knowing how old they are by simply looking at samples of their recent work?

    What I would like to see SAG-AFTRA address leading into the next negotiation is how to adjust the residual payment rates for Internet Free, Internet Rental and Electronic Sell Thru upwards from the ridiculously small amounts currently generated versus the rates paid for Free and Pay TV and Video and DVD sales which seem to be pretty good.

  5. IMDB isn’t just about actors, it’s about ALL entertainment industry professionals, above and below the line, who are all subject to ageism. Furthermore, removing birthdates is also about protected personal information being so openly distributed against a person’s wish that could lead to more dangerous threats like identity theft.

  6. Kathy says:

    This isn’t the only problem going on with actors trying to get work. You have a huge problem with untalented people getting acting jobs because they have so-called many hits on you tube, Poof they become famous. They have no schooling, therefore no real talent, but because social media is high, they are hired. The proper schooling isn’t cheap and these more talented actors are in heavy debt, but can’t get Hired! The industry just may fold in on itself one day because, if they keep hiring untalented people because of their social status on social media, the industry will find it doesn’t have what we, the public, love, the greats, the ones we love to watch, because they are great at what they do. They need to start searching for the schooled actor, the new and up coming actors who may become one of the greats, just as it was done before social media.

    • Big Eric says:

      Talent and education aren’t the same thing. You need talent, and education can help, but if there is no talent, full time consideration of another endeavor might be in order.

  7. Joe Kleinsmith says:

    If the actors can not perform convincingly on film acting a younger age with make-up and surgery they receive, lying about their age and birthdate isn’t going to help.

  8. Leon Wagner says:

    The article cites IMDb as an example, but they are based in the State of Washington. How would this California law affect them? We don’t have state by state firewalls on the Internet.

  9. Michele says:

    The argument that it infringes upon free speech is ludicrous. Free speech does not allow another person to post another persons private information without consent, why not them just post everyone social security number then?

  10. Livia Jones says:

    Carteris knows all the struggles that working actors has to go through. I say thank you Gabby and California legislature. Age discrimination is one more thorn in our sides along with size and color. Actors pay taxes and we have a right to ask for fair legislation. How would you non-performer punks like it if they came and published your birthdays before you sent off your resume looking for work? All you yahoos would be whining and bringing law suites for discrimination. Equal opportunity laws state there shall be no discrimination regards to age. People in the public eye deserve the same fair treatment in hiring practices. Many actors are working actors who struggle on a daily basis to get a decent work with decent wage and not everyone is a star who makes millions. Non-actors should respect that it is a job where acting is a job and union actors are doing professional work. Actors should be able to play any role. You should be asking why parents are so eager to prostitute their children to work in the industry. While some producers may cast their friends without discrimination with regard to age, size, color or gender, the rest of the struggling working actors needs to be protected against intentional or unintentional discrimination, because when the age is listed, we are the ones who get shafted by casting, producers and studios. IMDB is a business and it’s parent company Amazon is a production studio. It is a conflict for them to even have a service like IMDB. No performer asked IMDB to put their personal information on to a page and rank them. But as a business IMDB should fall into place to follow the laws, especially ones regarding equal employment opportunity laws. Amazon is violating the labor codes by having IMDB list personal data and by being in conflict of interest as a studio who owns the service itself. Underage performers should be listed without birthdate showing but listed as below 18 years old until they are 18. Then for everyone over 18, just put over 18 years of age. It is simple. Casting or producers will always find something that bothers them to not cast someone and to only cast the person they want. There is no cure for that.

  11. Sam says:

    Waste of taxpayers money passing this legislation. Forget your age, height, and whatever. Directors Allen, Anderson, Apatow, Eastwood, Fincher, Russell, Scorcese, Tarantino, and many others seem to have favorite actors. They often cast the same actors in their different movies.

  12. suzysoro says:

    Are any of these naysayers actually IN show business? If you were, you’d understand how important this is and how many people lost work because of it. You don’t HAVE to get your age removed you twits, but if you want to, you can. Please go back to your desks and catch up on People Magazine.

    • BigEric says:

      I love these people blaming all their failings on one small piece of truth published on one website. Get real folks. It wasn’t IMDB reporting your age that caused the Director to choose someone else.

    • Brendan says:

      How dare people not making films and television shows ever offer an opinion on films and television shows.

      Maybe if Hollywood weren’t so disconnected and didn’t try to pass 30-year-old actors off as teenagers …or 60-year-old actors with obvious plastic surgery off as young action stars with love interests half their age… maybe then, people not working in the industry wouldn’t make fun of this law.

      Oh… and films and TV shows aren’t made for the exclusive viewing pleasure of only people in the industry… so the public is allowed an opinion of the industry

  13. Guess nobody told these people the internet is forever. Congratulations, you’ve got this *extremely pertinent* information redacted from a handful of sites. Good luck with the other 5,864,321,954, or so.
    Geez. Talk about living in a bubble.

  14. lakawak says:

    Once again, the ultra liberals find it easier to criminalize everything (including free speech) than to simply ENFORCE EXISTING LAWS.

  15. CNU says:

    First, there’s the issue of a state trying to mandate the behavior of a site that is available across the entire nation as well as the rest of the world, making it overreaching of California’s authority
    Second, there’s the issue of this law being clearly targeted at one site, IMDb, making it discriminatory. This is especially so in light of the fact you can simply search an actor’s name and Google will display their birthday in the side bar of the results page.
    Third, there’s the issue that this is simply treating the a symptom of ageism in Hollywood by burying their head in the sand and ignoring the real issue, and does nothing to help correct the problem.

  16. malcolm says:

    What a waste of time ..I`am wondering if it could backfire on those who ask to have their ages removed as well,will those casting a role just move on to someone else if the age is removed..

  17. EK says:

    What about Google and Wikipedia etc.? Stupid law in the digital age when info in readily available everywhere.

  18. Ivan says:

    That has to be the silliest suggestion to stop inequality.

    How about we get all employees to wear large hats and baggy clothing all in the same colour? That way, if everyone looks the same, there can be no discrimination.

    And the fact that the legislator actually took the time to draft and pass such a law is mind boggling. I guess those laws to serve, protect, and to use tax money more fairly had to wait, so Billy-Joe Boobs could continue to tell everyone she’s 29.

  19. Jason says:

    Liberals always are the first to try to seize another’s freedom to make themselves more free. Why not pass a law to force people to watch Hollywood TRIPE that they don’t want, too? Has EVERY American citizen forgotten that the US Constitution in the Bill of Rights GUARANTEES Freedom of Speech as a RIGHT that upon which no state, business, organization or individual may trample or curtail with any broad stroke of a pen by legislation just because YOU disagree with what another says? We’re not talking about shouting “fire” in a movie house here. I welcome ALL fan sites to collectively sue and win and bankrupt further the Stupid State of Crazy California. If actors have a problem with their SYSTEM, then CHANGE YOUR SYSTEM. Don’t break the Rights of all citizens to achieve your petty aims.

  20. LensView says:

    The reading was fine. You’re the wrong height.

    I can be taller.

    No. We’re looking for somebody shorter.

    Look. I don’t have to be this tall. See, I’m wearing lifts. I can be shorter.

    I know, but we’re looking for somebody different.

    I can be different.

    We’re looking for somebody else.

    – Tootsie, 1982

  21. Phil Marshall says:

    Dumb law, and unconstitutional as California will soon learn when all the lawsuits begin. A state can not pass any law to control the access to website around the world containing public information.

  22. mstrainjr says:

    This is stupid. Whether or not the DOB is shown, you can look at their picture and tell if they’re about 12 or 80. But this is just another way that our government is trying to censor information, and once again it’s thanks to the liberal unions. Yet I may be understanding this. The law takes the age off websites like IMDb, but we can always see their ages elsewhere, like Wikipedia or on forums. What about the IMDb message boards when birthdays roll around and people mention the actors’ ages? Again, this is stupid.

  23. Mark says:

    This seems like one of the most blatantly unconstitutional laws I have ever seen.

  24. Alex says:

    Is Wikipedia and THIS site next?

  25. Luke says:

    Don’t really care. Personal information should be private should they choose but don’t these people have hundreds of fan sites listing every vital stat and social/profession accolade? So tax dollars poorly used ultimately.

  26. Yootha says:

    In the UK we have the Data Protection Act – if anyone’s personal information is online & they wish it not to be so, they should be able to have it removed from wherever.

    • Ivan says:

      And hows that working for ya if the site has nothing to do with the UK?

      Or are you OK, with government resources being used to chase a Nigerian website that list Hugh Grant’s birthdate?

      • CNU says:

        While IMDb is owned by Amazon and headquartered in Seattle, it was founded by current CEO Col Needham, a Brit who I believe still resides in the UK , so you can hardly say it has “nothing” to do with the UK.

  27. detroit says:

    Tax money well spent…. *cries

  28. Neil Harper says:

    StarsAges.com now exists

  29. Sam says:

    California Legislature doesn’t have enough to do. If I need someone between the ages of 40 and 50, I should get just those people. If you apply and are in the 20s, you are wasting your time and mine. No, I will not change the story to accommodate age.

  30. John says:

    I hope the laws says actors 18 and over are allowed to remove age. If not any minor can intentionally remove actual age, get hired as adult, then come back to sue the production for hiring minor. Don’t laugh, because many productions don’t check IDs for extras and day players.

  31. Shahid Ali says:

    Its commendable step by govt.

  32. cuius says:

    Given some of the sex scandals with minors, this will be a big help to some in Hollywood

  33. cuius says:

    Awaits legislation on banning age discrimination for political candidates – understand teenagers Clinton and Trump want to run for President

  34. SilverSurfer says:

    Hopefully all sites ignore requests and/or move servers to fight this crazy law. Entertainment sites should also always quote peoples ages in their stories and add 5-10 yrs for good measure … that should make people like Gabrielle Carteris, age 62, think twice about pushing through silly laws.

  35. Casting directors don’t have a great deal of time to cast parts and if the character is supposed to be in her early 20s, you really don’t want to be seeing a lot of 35-40 year old actresses. It is a waste of time for both the actresses and the person doing the casting. Most likely the small minority of actors and actresses who remove their age from databases are going to find that nobody asks them to any auditions any more for any part.
    Age may or may not be important in a movie. Cary Grant was 59 and Audrey Hepburn was 34 in “Charade” (1963), a big 25 year difference, but Grant looked 50ish and Hepburn looked 30-ish, so the romance seemed plausible.
    However, in “Love in the Afternoon,” (1958) Gary Cooper was 57 and Audrey Hepburn was 29, but Cooper looked his age and Hepburn looked 22. The movie feels totally false and the age difference ruins the movie for almost everybody who watches it.

  36. Olivia says:

    lmao what? That’s not the root of the problem with age discrimination in Hollywood. IMDb is not responsible for casting directors and directors gross proclivities for casting young women against haggard old men (bless Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone’s little hearts). If SAG-AFTRA actually cared, they’d make a UNION RULE that casting directors, producers, and directors shall not cast two romantic leads that are more than 10 years apart in age. No more 50 year old grandpas getting naked on screen and kissing 20 year old ingenues. If they were seriously concerned with it (and they’re not, which they’re proving by POLICING THE INTERNET instead of their ACTUAL UNION), they’d make bylaws that were meant to combat this kind of gross casting behavior. There is plenty they could do to make this an actual change in the business, but nah, go ahead and protect your gross men’s club wet dreams when it comes to casting instead of doing what’s right and casting in age appropriate gaps, while blaming it on everyone else but yourselves.

    • Olivia says:

      As far as discriminating based on “the character is 35 but this actor is 37” then change the bylaws in the union to say that a person should be within three years in either direction of the character age. “Play the age they look” is so ridiculous, get out of my face. People play characters they are alllllllllllll wronnngggggggggg forrrrrrrr all of the time, and trust me, the audience can tell, and we laugh at all of you. Age appropriate casting is what needs to become standard, that’s something that needs to be changed within your industry, and changing the internet isn’t going to make some miraculous change. But hey, whatever you need to tell yourselves that’s why you didn’t get the job.

  37. rachelroust says:

    I”m so glad that our state government has no other pressing issues to worry about. So their age won’t be on IMDb – what about Wikipedia? Google? A gazillion other websites? Can I take the year off of my college degree so nobody will no how old I am? I wouldn’t say this is the dumbest thing I’ve heard of, but it’s right up there.

  38. someone good says:

    Well, I think Jerry Brown is overstepping the boundaries here. IMDb is a privately operated site. IMDb should have an agreement with credited people on IMDb, i.e. If actors want to appear on IMDb, they must agree to IMDb’s terms which include having their birth date on the page, if they don’t agree, then IMDb should just remove them from the website or not create an entry for them at all. That solves the problem.

    • Deanna Meske says:

      Thats not how it works, IMDb won’t let you cancel anything, if you don’t want to appear on their site they will not make that an option, they won’t even let you change your biography. Age discrimination applies to the rest of the workers in America, it should apply to artists as well.

      • Livia Jones says:

        It’s not just facts but personal information. There’s a bigger worry for identity theft as well because financial institutes like credit card companies use birth dates to identify accounts. People in general should be speaking against and pulling down white pages sites and similar spokio that gives private information about a person. No one asked them to list people. There is a fine line between censorship and private information. There are laws. Equal employment opportunity laws are not about censorship but about protecting people’s right to obtain work without being discriminated against, in this instance it’s the fun category of AGE. Either you have never been in the workforce or have no clue why those laws had to be written in the first place.

      • Rob says:

        Posting facts is not discrimination, and banning the posting of facts is a violation of the 1st amendment.

        If you want to fight age discrimination, then fight age discrimination by those that commit it.

  39. Deanna Meske says:

    This is great or would be but what I’m reading is that the main IMDb site will still have the birthday info and only the pro site will not, which is already and option on the pro site so this doesn’t make sense, unless this article isn’t correct and I hope it’s not! :) So, how do we request our B day to be taken down? I’m ready! I agree fully, this will help many actors get called for the age they look and thus book more roles and it’s more secure for their personal lives too! Why should actors be open to age discrimination when the rest of the country is protected?

  40. Brendan says:

    How about a law that requires websites not to post an actor’s gender if the actor so requests?
    If this is about employment discrimination, why not?

  41. BillUSA says:

    And people wonder why more important aspects of life don’t get the attention they need.

  42. CJB says:

    Wow.
    These comments show such an amazing lack of knowledge about the casting industry.
    This bill will help more people be considered for employment instead of being disqualified by some assistant because the breakdown lists a character as 35 and IMdB says the actor’s 37.
    And yeah this happens all the time.

  43. Gary Grubbs says:

    Actors are hired by how old they look, not how old they are. Posted an actors age on IMDB is of zero value and allows employers to discriminate on age alone.

    • Dave says:

      Hey Gary Grubbs! Apparently you’ve never cast a show or a movie. Checking an actor/actress’ age is a thing that happens all the time and, fair or unfair, definitely affects how you think of them. Personally I think it’s unfair. Either way to say posting an actor’s age is of “zero value” means you 1) don’t know what you’re talking about and 2) appropriate Louis CK verbalisms

  44. Jb says:

    It’s pointless legislation because birth certificates are public record, anyone who does a background check can find out how old you are

    • Deanna Meske says:

      Studios and production companies do not do background checks to hire an actor especially not for a guest star or co star role or for any other roles, IMDb is a casting site, it’s used by those that hire actors, actors are hired to play the ages the look, not their actual ages, age discrimination applies to the rest of the country and should apply to actors too, if you don’t agree or can’t see how this negatively affects the careers of actors then you are likely not in the industry or may not have the inside scoop how the sites are used by execs and casting offices.

    • BillUSA says:

      This law is just another form of censorship. But that’s a libby for you – bitch about something (censorship of anything) which gets under your skin, but ignore it when a particular lobby has your ear.

      Nice job, Moonbeam…

  45. Burro b says:

    So no IMDB ? Ever hear of google? This is what California politicians are concerned with ? Gtfo

  46. JOE S HILL says:

    Only in California do you have idiot Democrats trying to pass such stupid and useless laws,like the one that IMDb freely publishes,because you have a few uncomfortable celebrities out there,who don’t want people knowing about their age or birthdays,,oh,how vain and hurt some of these stupid celebrities are,out there,,for shame on all of us,for wanting to know your ages,,really important,,give me a break!!

  47. K.D. says:

    What a joke. If birthdays are public knowledge, guess what — they’re PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE! You can’t legislate editorial policy and free speech just because ageism exists in Hollywood. Nice intention, but the logic defies logic, AND the 1st Amendment! If Bezos takes it to court he’ll definitely win.

    • Livia Jones says:

      They were not public knowledge. They got it from credit card information and other places. Why don’t you post your birth date information so it will be public knowledge. Majority of the actors are not celebrities and about 93% of them are working actors. Do you know what that means? Do you think that working actors shouldn’t have the same rights to acquire work without discrimination? Personally Identifiable Information should be a category of sensitive information that is associated with an individual person, such as an employee, and should be accessed only on a strict need-to-know basis and handled and stored with care.

  48. alex says:

    What a brilliant thing to spend time and resources on. That was definitely California’s biggest problem

    • Beowulf says:

      It probably took him 30 seconds to sign a document, & probably did about 200 other things that day. this just happens to be one that made the news..& i dont think the ink it took to sign it or the paper it was printed on was more than 50 cents. Yeah time & resources..totally..

      • Brian says:

        Just to propose a bill in the California legislature costs State Government more than $20,000 – and that’s before any staff time or debate time is counted. Gov. Brown’s signature is the cheapest part. This bill is another great waste of public resources ,but of course our Legislature is well known for waste and abuse. Isn’t a one party state great?

      • Burro b says:

        Yea. You ever hear of debates ? Written legislation ? Yea 59 cents. Sure. Your a putz

  49. Tim says:

    I think its a huge joke. I’ve worked in the entertainment industry for decades. If a producer/director or casting director sees someone’s (headshot/face) and the person has talent, they are not going to lose a part because of their “age”. Plus many, many, many famous actors have played various “age” parts by simply modifying their makeup. So if a actor didn’t get a part because of their “age”, trust me….it had nothing to do with “their age”!

  50. E2015 says:

    So glad the California legislature finally took action on this. Truly, it was one of the most pressing issues currently facing the state. Maybe now that this has finally been dealt with we can get on to the more minor problems like water shortages and looming deficits due to plummeting revenues and unrestrained spending.

    • Dave says:

      The state government has dealt many times with water shortages. It could be argued water is their biggest concern. And the deficit has been cut substantially. It could also be argued that state governments can do more than one or two things at a time. Capiche?

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