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

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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