In addition to looking down on you if you voted for Donald Trump, Meryl Streep and the rest of the Hollywood crowd don’t want you to know she is 67. So they had their star-struck minions in the California Legislature pass a law targeting IMDb.com, the leading purveyor of information about showbiz.
In short, a state law went into effect January 1 requiring IMDb.com (a website/app based in Delaware, BTW) to agree to individual requests from residents of California to remove the ages of actors, directors and writers. IMDb.com has said it agrees that age discrimination is rampant in Hollywood, but insists that curtailing its First Amendment rights is not the answer.
Of course, it is ridiculous to think that it would be difficult to find out the birthdate of a star in the public eye for decades. Now IMDb.com, a subsidiary of Amazon, has sued in federal court, trying to prohibit California’s attorney general from enforcing this blatantly unconstitutional law. From the filing: “Rather than properly passing laws designed to address the root problem of age discrimination, the state of California has chosen instead to chill free speech and to undermine access to factual information of public interest.”
At its root, this issue concerns women more than men, because women onscreen have a shorter shelf life. Consider that Sally Field went from playing the love interest of Tom Hanks in 1988 (“Punchline”) to playing his frumpy mother in 1994 (“Forrest Gump”). Every magazine from People to Vogue has carried interviews of relatively young actresses fearful they will no longer be sought to play the ingenue. In the 1996 movie “The First Wives Club,” Goldie Hawn’s character got to point out there are three ages for women in Hollywood – babe, district attorney and Driving Miss Daisy. Two classic movies — “All About Eve” and “Sunset Blvd.” — tackled this subject in classic style in 1950.
As for the state of California, there is no hope. People of good sense know all is lost there. This is just the latest bit of lunacy, to be followed by many others.