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

*Exactly *my point. Thank you.

Using the number from the calendar is a sloppy, stupid, and ultimately invalid proxy for using the actual relevant facts: “Does this individual person have the appearance and style for the acting task at hand?”

The fact some people want to take sloppy, stupid, and ultimately invalid shortcuts while making decisions is not a reason to applaud (or facilitate) their methods. Rather the opposite.

This is exactly the problem the union is trying to prevent with this law. Say you’re Lauren Koslow. Compare the roles you will get if producers get a chance to meet and see you vs. the ones you will get if they just check a database and see that you are 63.

All proxies are sloppy. Calendar age is actually one of the better ones, as these things go. And you haven’t addressed at all the point in my post, which was that your current ability to portray an age may be well-captured by try-outs and head-shots, but your calendar age may be more important to assessing your ability to play that character’s age in, say, five years.

Furthering anti-discrimination goals by suppressing speech rarely works as intended. Producers will just move to even sloppier proxies, as employers have done with ban-the-box efforts.

Most top actors will have a Wikipedia page, but the overwhelming majority of actors won’t. These are the actors like a friend of mine from school who got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, saying one sentence on an episode of 30 Rock.

When I was doing the acting thing in the late 80’s/early 90’s, I was in my 20s but I looked 16, which lasted until I was about 30. This was pre-internet, and even though it was illegal for casting directors to ask for your age (other than making sure you’re over 18) they did anyway. I just lied. Nowadays the unknown actors who are able to play teens well into their 20’s don’t have the option to lie, if they’re on IMDB. This is what this law is intending to address. I’m not sure if I agree with it or not, but it’s irrelevant to me as I’m now in my early 50’s (and only look a few years younger).

You’re right. Somebody hired at age 29-years-and-364-days can play a teen or college-aged role for a decade. Somebody hired at age 30-years-and-one-day can’t. So best to filter on age < 30 before conducting any interviews.

Granted. You’ll notice my first post in the thread called the law silly and suggested it was mostly set up to get the casting companies out of the middle. You’ll notice I also cited the perverse effects of ban-the-box.

My whole and entire point in our back-and-forth is that chronological age is, strictly speaking, meaningless. It’s a correlate, but a crappy one for the features the casting folks genuinely need. And at least as I interpret it, you keep coming back that chronological age is an important number in and of itself. To which I disagree. Will thoughtless casting directors keep using numerical age even if the info becomes hard to obtain? Sure. Is that a logically valid thing for them to do? IMO no.

Perhaps we should stop here. I’ve said my points about as well as I can. Your call and no hard feelings.

This is age discrimination. Numerical age is not a trait you can use in the worker culling process. It’s federal law.

There’s a certain amount of leeway when you’re casting for a specific age, but that doesn’t let you just do whatever you want in casting, you have to follow the rules. You want a young inegnue, you can restrict your search to women who LOOK young, you can’t say “Nobody over 30 need apply.”

While it’s difficult to stop someone from being discriminatory, it’s not the same as allowing someone to be forced to provide age information by an employment agency. If you were looking for a job, and thought your numerical age might be used against you, I think you’d be pissed if your agency decided to provide your age (a trait explicitly illegal to use in employment decisions) against your wishes.

I thought federal law only applied to those over 40. So that you could say “Nobody between 30 and 39 need apply.” California law seems to be the same.

Also, Cheesesteak misstates how bona fide occupational qualifications work.

It’s the rare case when calendar age is a legitimate basis for hiring. But the point is that a categorical restriction applies to the rare cases.

Name the role that a 37 year old can play that a 38 year old can’t.

Only because you asked nicely.

Given what Alley Dweller wrote, how could the litigant not be the wronged party; that is, the actor?

Because the wronged party for the purpose of deciding who can sue is the one injured by the law, not the one the law is trying to help. In this case, that’s the company.

I hate to speak for someone else, but in this case it might be helpful.

I believe that Derleth is imagining that an actor will demand that the company remove the actor’s birthday from the site, but the company will respond “publishing that information is constitutionally protected and we refuse.” At that point the actor will sue to have the information removed from the site.

You seem to be envisioning some other scenario. Can you please explain?

Yes, because that’s how it works in literally every other case along these lines: Website publishes thing, other party feels the thing is harmful to them and should be removed and sends whiny letter to that effect, website points and laughs, other party initiates legal proceedings, everything ends up on Popehat so everyone else can point and laugh. It’s a tradition at this point.

In specific, here it would be that a celebrity hires a website (IMDbPro has been mentioned) to put up information about them, IMDbPro puts up an accurate birth date and age, and the celebrity brings suit, alleging injury to their earnings potential. The website would only be able to claim injury to them under the law if that suit went against them, and they appealed on First Amendment grounds or similar.

In that scenario, the company would be raising the constitutional argument as a defense. But there’s no need for them to wait to get sued like that though. And Derleth’s point was that this wouldn’t see court because of the Streisand effect. That’s just wrong because the company can sue.

There’s no way the target of the suit wouldn’t also wind up published, unless there’s some law I don’t know about.

The company could file a First Amendment challenge to the law as a facial challenge wit not identifying a particular actor’s age they want to disclose. There is also the option of proceeding anonymously in civil suits.

But even if that weren’t true, it doesn’t help Derleth’s argument which was about the actor’s incentive to file suit.

I told myself I wouldn’t get drawn into this…

I didn’t realize a company could preemptively challenge a law like that. I thought courts only heard actual cases; that is, real events which involve actual people who have standing and a real problem the courts need to resolve.

This is new to me. I only thought extremely sensitive material could be redacted, such as the names of under-aged sexual abuse victims; I didn’t know whole trials could proceed anonymously.

However, this kind of throws into question the story of the original Streisand Effect, the one which actually involved Barbara Streisand.

At the federal level, things are likely different, but state law typically allows anonymous litigation only in very limited circumstances (for example, when a litigant is a public official such as a judge or police officer whose home address might be disclosed in court documents, or is the victim of certain enumerated crimes).

You can do lots of things contractually vis-a-vis the First Amendment that you can’t do in the absence of a contract. A civil litigant can require (and enforce) a nondisclosure clause regarding the terms of a settlement, for example. ISTM that this law is grafting a new term into a number of existing and yet-to-be-consummated contracts. Not a problem in the latter case, and at best grounds for rescission in the former.

There is an easy way around it: just download the existing dates of birth information from IMDB - there is a link to the “raw data files” in the help section.

I would not be surprised if somebody starts up a website that contains pretty must just all of the IMDB entries’ dates of birth - and as long as the information is free and available to everybody, it does not break California’s new law.

Gee, you don’t think that this new law has something to do with the new SAG/AFTRA president getting her “big break” being hired to play a high school sophomore when she was in her upper 20s, do you?