On behalf of everyone in the industry who has struggled with age discrimination, whose opportunities to showcase their talent may have been blocked, I want to thank Gov. Brown and the bill’s author, Assembly member Ian Calderon,” says SAG-AFTRA’s Gabrielle Carteris.
California Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed legislation that requires certain entertainment sites, such as IMDb, to remove – or not post in the first place – an actor’s age or birthday upon request.
The law, which becomes effective January 1, applies to entertainment database sites that allow paid subscribers to post resumes, headshots or other information for prospective employers. Only a paying subscriber can make a removal or non-publication request. Although the legislation may be most critical for actors, it applies to all entertainment job categories.
“Even though it is against both federal and state law, age discrimination persists in the entertainment industry,” Majority Leader Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, said in a statement. “AB 1687 provides the necessary tools to remove age information from online profiles on employment referral websites to help prevent this type of discrimination.”
“Gov. Jerry Brown today stood with thousands of film and television professionals and concerned Californians who urged him to sign AB 1687, a California law that will help prevent age discrimination in film and television casting and hiring,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris.
The union and others lobbied for the legislation, an effort begun under the aegis of then-SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard, who died in March. His successor, Carteris, testified in front of a State Senate committee, and in August, wrote of her support for the law in a guest column forThe Hollywood Reporter.
“It is time to stop the ageism that permeates Hollywood’s casting process,” Carteris wrote. “This problem exists for all performers, but most distinctly for women. Performers create characters and often employ illusion to do so. That’s acting.”
She added, “Many actors have endured age discrimination of some sort throughout their careers. Those isolated, individual cases have now morphed into the almost-automatic age discrimination made possible by the online casting services. The information is put front and center before those making the decisions about whom to audition and whom to hire.”
The technology community opposed the law, saying it was a violation of free speech.
“We are disappointed that AB 1687 was signed into law today,” said Internet Association spokesman Noah Theran. “We remain concerned with the bill and the precedent it will set of suppressing factual information on the internet.”
Michael Beckerman, the association’s president and CEO, also wrote in August for THR, about his opposition to the law.
“Requiring the removal of factually accurate age information across websites suppresses free speech,” Beckerman wrote. “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.”