McKenna on KIRO: Can California stop IMDb from publishing actors’ ages?

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about a new California law that would require the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com) to take down the birthdates and real ages of actors who request it. The law “was meant to combat ageism in the industry,” but IMDb is fighting it in court on First Amendment grounds.

Dave Ross: One of the actresses who is worried about this is Gabrielle Carteris. I hadn’t heard of her but she appeared on Beverly Hills, 90210, and she said she never would have gotten that role because, on that series, she was playing a teenager, a 16-year-old. At the time she got the part, she was 29! She says if the producers had known her real age, they might never have given her the part. So she was particularly upset about this.”

Rob McKenna: “Good actress, apparently…Well I’m sympathetic to what she’s saying, which is that there are electronic casting sites that are apparently pre-screening actors before they even get a chance to audition, and they’re basing that screening on data like their birthdates. So I think what she’s saying is, she never even would have had a chance to audition if this information had been so readily available about her.

“Having said that, as you pointed out, her birthdate wouldn’t just be available on IMDb, it would be available in a lot of other places as well. And this law, which I’m sure legislators in California were happy to pass because they were being lobbied by famous people, isn’t going to stand up.”

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