A Seattle jury has found against Junie Hoang in her lawsuit against IMDb for revealing her real age online. The decision came after a two-day trial. The 41-year-old actress, whose real name is Houng Hoang, first sued IMDb and parent company Amazon for $1 million back in October 2011. Soon after joining IMDb in 2008, Hoang’s age appeared on the site, information the actress claimed harmed her chances of landing film roles in a youth-centric industry. Hoang has appeared in minor roles in films Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver and Hoodrats 2: Hoodrat Warriors. She claimed the site performed record searches using her credit card information to obtain her age and did not remove the information when she requested it. As the case made its way through the courts, the claims were pared down, and Amazon was dismissed as a defendant before the breach of contract trial started. Back in late 2011, then-separate unions SAG and AFTRA backed Hoang’s action, saying that when actual ages are posted “they become known to casting personnel, the 10+ year age range that many [actors] can portray suddenly shrinks and so do their opportunities to work.”
Last night a federal judge in Seattle ruled that a lawsuit brought by an actress who accused the online film and TV database for posting her birthdate in her bio without her permission will go to trial. U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman denied summary judgment from IMBb on Junie Hoang’s breach of contract claim (read the full ruling here), meaning the case will go forward to an April 8 trial date. The core claim makes the central issue of the case whether the site enables age discrimination in the entertainment biz with its policy of posting ages on individuals’ web pages.
The actress suing Amazon.com and IMDb.com for publishing her real age on the web retailer’s popular entertainment information web site has dismissed her allegations of fraud, invasion of privacy and request for $1 million in punitive damages, but allowed her case …
Los Angeles (Oct. 27, 2011) — An actor’s actual age is irrelevant to casting. What matters is the age range that an actor can portray. For the entire history of professional acting, this has been true but that reality has been upended by the development of IMDb as an industry standard used in casting offices across America. IMDb publishes the actual dates of birth of thousands of actors without their consent, most of them not celebrities but rank-and-file actors whose names are unknown to the general public. When their actual ages then become known to casting personnel, the 10+ year age range that many of them can portray suddenly shrinks and so do their opportunities to work. The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Screen Actors Guild strongly believe that businesses like IMDb have a moral and legal obligation not to facilitate age discrimination in employment. Entertainment industry employers who would never directly ask a potential employee’s age routinely access that information through IMDb and its professional subscription site IMDbPro. IMDb has the power to remove the temptation for employers to engage in age discrimination by accessing this information.