A federal court judge has dismissed as unconstitutional a 2016 law that prevented the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com) from posting the ages of actors upon request.
The law was a desperate measure to combat overwhelming age discrimination in hiring in Hollywood, where young women are routinely cast in roles opposite much older men.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco said the law violates the First Amendment rights of IMDb.com by preventing it from publishing factual information. Judge Chhabria also said the law was “underinclusive” because it bans only one kind of speaker from disseminating age-related information.
Interestingly, Judge Chhabria, who was appointed to the bench in 2014 by former President Barack Obama, opined that the problem in the entertainment industry is not age discrimination but rather sex discrimination. He said the problem was”objectifying women” and “overvaluing their looks while devaluing everything else.”
Aren’t women being treated less favorably because of their age? That’s age discrimination.
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, general counsel of the Screen Actors Guild told The Sacramento Bee that Judge Chhlabria “fails to understand or recognize the massive impact gender and age discrimination has on all working performers.” He said the union plans to appeal.
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1687 into law in 2016. The bill required that “commercial online entertainment service providers” such as IMDbPro remove users’ age upon request.