Like everyone else, Hollywood agents use the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) to get the scoop on different actors’ careers, including their ages. Now an “anonymous 40-something actor” is suing IMDb for revealing that number, and three major actors’ unions are supporting her. The Screen Actors’ Guild, Sag, and Aftra have all condemned the website because they “strongly believe that businesses like IMDb have a moral and legal obligation not to facilitate age discrimination in employment.”
Check out their logic. Their joint statement declares, “An actor’s actual age is irrelevant to casting. What matters is the age range that an actor can portray.” That’s the point. Casting decisions should be made on the basis of talent and appearance, not chronological age. Does the entertainment industry discriminate on the basis of age? All the time, especially against women. But the solution lies in confronting the discrimination and changing ageist attitudes, not in attempting to hide your age from the world — as if that were even possible today.