×

Actress Loses IMDb Lawsuit Over Posting of Her Age

A federal jury in Seattle has rejected an actress’ claim that IMDb breached a contract with her by posting her age on the site and refusing to remove it at her request.

Junie Hoang had claimed that IMDb breached subscriber and privacy agreements by using information that she provided when subscribing to IMDbPro to discern her true age in public records. Her case drew the attention of the Screen Actors Guild and other orgs that have pressed IMDb to limit its posting of birthdates at a time when many performers face age discrimination.

Hoang, whose real name is Huong Hoang, first signed up for IMDb in 2001, but left her age blank. In 2004, she used a friend’s account to submit a 1978 date of birth, even though she was actually born in 1971. In 2007, she decided that she wanted the false birth date to be removed, and repeatedly contacted the database, asking that it be taken off her page. Yet even after she sent them documents, including a fake Texas ID, showing that the birth date was wrong, they did not remove the 1978 date from her profile.

In 2008, she sent IMDb an e-mail asking them to please “go back to your files and see if you have any documentation, verification or identification that my birthdate is in 1978.” After searching through their records, a customer service manager found her real name and used that to find her correct birth date in public records, and published it online.

Popular on Variety

The jury started deliberating on Wednesday.

IMDb.com argued that she had failed to prove that she was harmed by the posting of her true age, noting in a court filing on Wednesday that she “merely speculated” about lost acting income and “at best, Hoang contends that unrelated parties have refused to give her acting opportunities because IMDb exercised its First Amendment right to publish truthful and accurate information.”

Update: Hoang expressed disappointment in the verdict, and said that she will be making a decision soon on an appeal. But she does not regret pursuing the case. “When I filed this lawsuit, some people asked me, ‘Why go rattle a hornet’s nest?'” she said. “I saw an opportunity to make a difference, to make a change.” Although a lot of attention in the case has focused on issues of ageism in the industry, she also cited concerns about privacy and consumer protection. She noted that IMBd’s posting of birthdates continues to be an issue for the Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild of America. “It is like the pink elephant in the room. Everyone knows it is there.”

More Film

  • The Book of Sun

    Saudi Arabia's Red Sea Festival to Feature 'The Assistant,' Local Opener 'The Book of Sun'

    Saudi Arabia’s nascent Red Sea International Film festival has unveiled its inaugural lineup featuring the Middle East premiere of Harvey Weinstein-inspired workplace abuse drama “The Assistant” amid a fresh mix of feature films and docs from Europe, the U.S., Asia, and Africa launching in the region on top of a robust representation of Arab films. [...]

  • Aerial View of Jiangxia temporary hospital

    Virus Kills Chinese Film Director and Family in Wuhan

    A Chinese film director and his entire family have died from the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. Chang Kai, a film director and an external communications officer at a Hubei Film Studio subsidiary, died in hospital on Feb. 14 from the virus now called COVID-19, according to a statement from the [...]

  • Remi Bonhomme

    Marrakech Film Festival Taps Cannes Exec Remi Bonhomme as Artistic Director

    Remi Bonhomme, a leading force behind Cannes’ Critics Week, has been appointed artistic director of the Marrakech Film Festival and its industry conference, the Atlas Workshops. In recent years, Bonhomme successfully headed the Atlas Workshops, a platform dedicated to supporting the cinema of the African continent and the Arab world, where he was also part [...]

  • A Stasi Comedy

    Picture Tree Intl. Picks Up Leander Haussmann's 'A Stasi Comedy' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Berlin-based Picture Tree International (PTI) has acquired global sales rights to Leander Haussmann’s highly anticipated East German laffer “A Stasi Comedy.” Set in the early 1980s, the film centers on East Germany’s infamous state security service, the Staatssicherheitsdienst or Stasi, and young agent Ludger, played by David Kross (“Balloon,” “The Reader”), who is sent to [...]

  • Berlin: Media Luna Acquires Horror Thriller

    Berlin: Media Luna Acquires Horror Thriller 'Blood-Red Ox' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sales agent Media Luna New Films has acquired international rights to Rodrigo Bellott’s horror thriller “Blood-Red Ox.” Bellott directed Bolivia’s Academy Award entries “Sexual Dependency” and “Tu Me Manques,” and was the producer behind Jim Mickle’s U.S. remake of Mexican horror hit “We Are What We Are.” In “Blood-Red Ox,” which is in post-production, a [...]

  • Parasite Movie

    'Parasite' Enjoys Record Box Office Boost After Oscar Wins

    Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” is reaping box office riches after its groundbreaking Oscar best picture win. The twisted South Korean thriller collected $5.5 million over the weekend, an exceptional 234% increase in ticket sales and the biggest post-Oscar boost for a best picture winner in the past decade. In the seven days since the Academy [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content