THE BIG DEBATE BURSTS BACK - WITH REDI TLHABI

Monday, September 26, 2016

IMDb ordered to remove actors' ages under new law - and 90210's Andrea, Gabrielle Carteris who lied about her real age to get the role, helped to get it passed.


American websites like the industry-leading film and television production reference site IMDb will now be forced to remove the ages of actors when requested by actors or their agents - and Beverly Hills, 90210's Andrea helped to get the law passed that worrying those who support freedom of speech.

In a long-running battle in America between actors and supporters of freedom of expression, California just passed a new law - AB 1687 - that forces certain entertainment sites like the industry-leading IMDb, not to make available and to remove when asked, actors' birthdays and ages.

AB 1687 will come into effect from 1 January 2017. 

Actors want to be able to lie about their age when auditioning for roles or to not make that information public in the first place, saying they suffer from age discrimination in Hollywood that's being enabled by the internet and internet movie database sites like IMDb.

90210 actress Gabrielle Carteris who played Andrea in the 90's youth drama and who is president of the SAG-AFTRA, an American screen actors' guild, fought to get the new law passed. 

"AB 1687 [is] a California law that will help prevent age discrimination in film and television casting and hiring," says Gabrielle Carteris in a statement.

Last month in an open letter published by The Hollywood Reporter Gabrielle Carteris wrote that "My role on Beverly Hills, 90210 could not have happened for me today, plain and simple".

"I would never have been called to audition for the part of 16 year-old Andrea Zuckerman if they had known I was 29. Electronic casting sites did not exist in 1990; today, they are prevalent and influential. And they affect casting decisions even when casting personnel don't recognize their unconscious bias".

She wrote that actors "face blatant age discrimination every day as websites routinely used for casting talent - sites like IMDb and StudioSystem - force birth dates and ages on casting decision-makers without their even realizing it."

In a statement the Internet Association in America says they are "disappointed that AB 1687 was signed into law. We remain concerned with the bill and the precedent it will set of suppressing factual information on the internet".

In August, Michael Beckerman, the Internet Association's president also wrote an open letter published by The Hollywood Reporter saying "requiring the removal of factually accurate age information across websites suppresses free speech".

"This is not a question of preventing salacious rumors; rather it is about the right to present basic facts that live in the public domain. Displaying such information isn’t a form of discrimination, and internet companies should not be punished for how people use public data".

According to Wikipedia, and IMDb that still lists Andrea, uhm, Gabrielle Carteris' age, she will turn 56 on 2 January - perfect now for the role of Beverly Hills High head mistress, Mrs. Teasley.