The Wrap is reporting that the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) is embroiled in a controversy over whether or not to list ages in its database. Several influential Hollywood guilds, led by the Writers Guild of America, West, are trying to get members the right to remove their birth dates from IMDB. IMDB, though, isn’t too keen on the idea.
It’s IMDB’s policy not to remove any information from its profiles unless the information is inaccurate. According to an IMDB spokesperson:
IMDb is committed to being the most comprehensive source of film, TV and celebrity information…Customers of IMDb trust that when they use our website, they are receiving comprehensive and accurate biographical information. When we are made aware of information that can be verified as inaccurate, we remove from IMDb, as nothing is more important to us than customer trust.
However, guild members fear that in an industry with an endless fixation on youth and young adult culture, publicly available age listings could lead to age discrimination. These fears stretch from below-the-line crew workers all the way to members of the writer’s room.
Adding to the conflict is the fact that the birthdate information in IMDB can sometimes be incorrect. Anecdotally, this can be very difficult to fix. Said one agent, “They’re very fickle about what changes they do make…I don’t know were they get their information, but once its up there, God help you.”
Obviously, personal information for celebrities and other high-profile figures is frequently publicly available, and even the guilds don’t seem to be arguing that their information be taken down from IMDB. But I’m of the opinion that your regular everyday industry workers should have the option of getting this personal information removed if they wish it. What do you guys think?