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LGBTQ Groups Backing SAG-AFTRA in Member Privacy Fight Against IMDb

SAG-AFTRA has announced that a coalition of national LGBTQ groups is backing the union in its fight for member privacy against IMDb.

The groups include the National LGBTQ Task Force, the country’s oldest national LGBTQ advocacy group; GLAAD; the Transgender Law Center; the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund; Transcend Legal, Inc.; and Equality Federation.

SAG-AFTRA has been appealing a federal judge’s 2018 ruling barring California’s legislation from requiring that subscription entertainment database sites remove an actor’s age, if requested by the actor. U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria issued the ruling on Feb. 20, 2018, backing IMDb’s 2016 lawsuit attempting to invalidate AB 1687. IMDb — a subsidiary of Amazon — had contended in its suit that the law, which applies only to subscription sites such as IMDb Pro, was unconstitutional.

SAG-AFTA president Gabrielle Carteris has insisted that she might not have been cast in “Beverly Hills 90210” as high school valedictorian and newspaper editor Andrea Zuckerman had her actual age been known at the time. She was 29 when she was she was cast to play the 15-year-old Zuckerman. “Beverly Hills 90210” aired from 1990 to 2000.

Carteris said Wednesday, “This is a case about the human rights of all performers. I want to thank these groups for signing on and showcasing how damaging the unregulated publication of performers’ personal data can be. We want to see this law enforced and are taking every step necessary to achieve that goal.”

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The coalition of groups joining the case are concerned with IMDb’s continued publication of the birth names of transgender performers and people in the entertainment industry without their consent.

“We endorse the position of SAG-AFTRA and its amici in upholding the constitutionality of AB 1687 because IMDb has exhibited a similarly defiant attitude with respect to publishing actors’ and other industry professionals’ ages and birthdates without those individuals’ consent,” the groups said in their legal filing. “As has been recently reported, plaintiff-appellee IMDb.com, Inc. has been recalcitrant when it comes to the issue of publicizing the birth names of transgender individuals in the entertainment industry without their consent… They do so despite removal requests, complaints, and even lobbying from management and advocacy groups.”

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA chief operating officer and general counsel, said in a statement, “Highlighting how IMDb is invading the privacy of transgender performers by publishing their birth names is another facet of this case that we hope will help make it clear to the appellate judges that the harm here is fundamental and compelling, and that the California law is necessary in order to remedy it. The court has so far failed to understand or recognize the massive impact the publication of this personal information can have on the careers and lives of working performers.”

Other groups that have backed SAG-AFTRA include AARP, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, California Labor Federation, L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and Berkeley Law Professor Catherine Fisk.

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