According to Hollywood conventional wisdom, everyone from the stars to the executives gets less bankable with every wrinkle, and will do anything to conceal evidence of aging — including, apparently, online evidence of their birth dates. To combat ageism, various Hollywood guilds, including both the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild, have asked the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), the largest and most popular movie site, to delete the birth dates of its members, reports The Wrap. Should IMDB comply, or should the Hollywood glamorati stop being prima donnas?
Ordinary Hollywood folk have a right to privacy, too: It's not just celebrities who face discrimination, says David Chen in Slash Film, but everyone from "below-the-line crew workers all the way to members of the writer's room." Further complicating matters, the data is sometimes wrong, and IMDB info is notoriously difficult to correct. "Everyday regular industry workers" should be able to control what information is available to would-be employers, whether it's age or anything else.
"Should IMDB display age listings?"
The industry is just making it easier for spoiled stars to lie: The WGA is "trying to blackmail IMDB," says Josh Tyler in CinemaBlend. The "veiled implication" here is that WGA will stop obeying the terms of an agreement it has with IMDB to provide credits information if IMDB doesn't back down. Well, the website should "stick to [its] guns." The WGA has no right to be "banning facts" just so it's "easier for people to lie."
"IMDB pressured to help actors lie on their resume"
And besides, it's not hard to work out someone's age from their résumé: "Eradicating birth dates" won't fix the problem, says Monika Bartyzel in Cinematical. Anyone can just skim the person's work to get a fair idea of their age. Tom Cruise's résumé, for example, reveals that he was "playing pilots and bartenders in the late '80s." Ergo, he must be at least 40. No doubt Hollywood has an ageism problem, but industry folks can no more disguise their age on IMDB than they can stop their "gray hairs" from growing.
"Should IMDB be allowed to post birthdates?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- The best online movies to watch this weekend
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- The danger of the Democrats' lack of desperation
- 7 language habits that reveal your age
- Hey, Paul Ryan's new poverty plan isn't completely terrible!
Subscribe to the Week