Actress Loses Lawsuit Over IMDB Posting Her Age

It's old school etiquette that still persists: it's downright rude to ask a woman her age. It might seem silly, but there's a lot of societal pressure on women to seem young for as long as humanly possible…or longer. So asking, "how old are you?" is often a time bomb of bad social behavior. But the stakes on perceived age are even higher in Hollywood, where there are scads of roles for ingenues, but fewer and fewer parts as an actress gets older. It’s a casting trap that many actresses have to maneuver around, and according to Huong Hoang, it was one made more treacherous because of the popular resource site IMDB posting her birthdate.

Hoang sued the Internet Movie Database and its parent company Amazon for publishing her age on her IMDB profile without her permission. The actress whose stage name is Junie Hoang declared that this exposed her to potential age discrimination since any casting agent, producer or director with internet access (so, you know, everyone) could easily see her age. It was a case that proved a heated topic of debate in industry circles, but The New York Times reports she lost her case today, and IMDB was exonerated of the charges. Having pulled Huong's birthdate from information she'd provided as an IMDB subscriber, the company was within its legal rights to share her birthdate on the site, according to the court.

It might seem a silly lawsuit to those who haven't had to endure the grim and judgmental process of auditions, but the Screen Actors Guild supported Huong's complaint when it was first filed in 2011. At the time, SAG came out publicly to criticize IMDB's displaying performers' ages without their expressed consent. Having won the day in court, it's unlikely IMDB will amend its age-posting policy, forcing performers to have to continue to lie to the site to bring down their age and up their commercial appeal. After all, lying about your age is a grand Hollywood tradition, just like age-defying plastic surgery.

Kristy Puchko

Staff writer at CinemaBlend.