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Actress sues IMDb over Hollywood ageism

IMDb.jpgAn actress, who is currently trying to remain anonymous, is suing IMDb for releasing her age online, stating that it's going to have a harmful effect on her career in Hollywood who are clearly ageist and so she would have to lie about how old she is to keep getting jobs.

Now while I can see that if IMDb released her age without permission there's an issue, surely this is the standard "sue everyone" reaction going on here and the real problem is Hollywood?

In a way I wonder if this has helped her, if it goes public who she is and what her plight is, can Hollywood turn her down for roles because of her age when she can clearly perform the task? Isn't that ageism? Something that in the UK certainly we have laws against and companies cannot turn down people purely because of their age.

Oh I know it's different in Hollywood, roles are certain ages, but Hollywood is all about the superficial looks so if she can get away being a certain age, what's the problem? Are they really concerned about the number rather than her ability and what she looks like in the film?

The problem is that she was trying to keep her legal date of birth and age secret and it appears that IMDb did not do that, so she's suing for more than US $1million, accusing the company of breach of contract, fraud, violation of privacy and consumer protection laws.

Apparently she joined the IMDbPro service in 2008 and they revealed her legal date of birth, she asked them to remove the information and they refused, which seems rather odd to me since she's paying for the service. The story comes from the BBC.

Now she's trying to keep her anonymity while the case moves forward under the media spotlight, something that I don't think will last for long. The actress is described as living in Texas, of Asian descent and has an Americanised stage name. I immediately make a name connection there but I'm not sure that this would be a well known actress to be honest as a well known star couldn't hide something like that from the "media" for long. Also the quote from the lawsuit clearly states that she's an "up and coming" actress, perhaps.

"If one is perceived to be 'over-the-hill,' i.e., approaching 40, it is nearly impossible for an up-and-coming actress, such as the plaintiff, to get work as she is thought to have less of an 'upside,' therefore, casting directors, producers, directors, agents-manager, etc. do not give her the same opportunities, regardless of her appearance or talent."

So because she can't get work she's suing IMDB after three years of displaying her legal date of birth? Is that what's happened, or is it that it's taken three years to get the case to this stage? Is this really down to IMDb being wholly at fault or is it Hollywood? Should they be blamed for revealing her age or should Hollywood be sorting their casting system so it doesn't discriminate?

Surely if the story is exposed there'll be less chance of her being discriminated against because of her age, or will casting agents just stay clear of her?

Ageism is wrong, and the sad thing is that as actors and actresses get older they gain experience and get better and better at their job, and while actors are seen to mature and don't seem to struggle for work when they are older, actresses don't seem to get so much work and yet they are getting better all the time too.

I remember watching The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (Filmstalker review) and just being amazed at the performance of Robin Wright whom I'd always remembered for bit parts between her fantastic role in The Princess Bride. After watching the film I'm wondering why we haven't seen more of her in leading roles as she just blew me away with her performance, and I found myself frustrated that we're seeing so many weak roles and weak performances from actresses when we could be seeing actresses like her taking the fore.

Was that because she was too old, or was it that there aren't enough good leading roles written for women, and there's just a small number of leading ladies coveted for the bigger roles, most of which tend to be doting mothers, partners and co-starring roles? Is there ageism in Hollywood or is no one writing leading roles for women?



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