As the frequent targets of damaging rumors, Hollywood actors sue for defamation all the time. But apparently, there are cases in which the truth can be every bit as harmful — and possibly illegal — as a juicy lie. An actress identified only as “Jane Doe” is suing Amazon.com subsidiary IMDb for posting her true age and legal name, on the basis that the website obtained the information through unlawful means and that the subsequent exposure has been damaging to her career. More details after the jump.
The anonymous woman is suing the company for “breach of contract, fraud, and violation of privacy,” and is asking for upwards of $1 million in damages plus a restraining order. According to the suit (which you can read in its entirety here), the actress had been careful about hiding her real name (apparently a difficult-to-pronounce foreign name) and birth date in an effort to preserve her career.
“In the entertainment industry, youth is king,” says the complaint. “If one is perceived to be ‘over-the-hill,’ i.e., approaching 40, it is nearly impossible for an up-and-coming actress, such as the Plaintiff, to get work as she is thought to have less of an ‘upside,’ therefore, casting directors, producers, directors, agents/managers, etc. do not give her the same opportunities, regardless of her appearance or talent.” As a result, “Plaintiff has suffered a substantial decrease in acting credits, employment opportunities and earnings since Defendants’ addition of Plaintiff’s legal date of birth to the Internet Movie Database.”
The woman alleges that IMDb obtained her legal name and birth date when she used her credit card to sign up for an IMDb Pro account in 2008, and then published the information on the website without her permission. She claims that she asked the IMDb to remove her age from her profile, but that the service refused. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “IMDb has a well-known reputation for sticking to the ages published on the site.”
On the one hand, it sounds a bit absurd for anyone to sue over having his or her real age revealed, since we’re not exactly talking about unsubstantianted rumors here. On the other, Jane Doe isn’t totally off base. Hollywood really does favor younger actresses — consider how often older male stars get paired with much younger female love interests. Plus, I can’t blame her for being upset that Amazon exposed her carefully guarded secrets without her permission, if that is indeed what happened. Do you think the anonymous actress has a case?