Actors may soon keep their ages confidential on entertainment job websites

Patrick McGreevy

A colorful chain curtain is the backdrop for a giant Oscar statue at Hollywood and Highland earlier this year. (Al Seib)

Addressing concern about age discrimination in Hollywood, the state Senate on Monday approved a bill that would allow actors to keep their ages from being disclosed on websites that provide employment services to the entertainment industry.

The bill sought by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists was approved on a 25-12 vote even though several Republican members said it is meaningless because actors' ages are widely available on the Internet on sites including IMDB.com.

“We’re making laws that can’t be fully enforced,” state Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) said.

He said the answer is to enforce laws against age discrimination by employers.

The measure goes back to the Assembly for a final vote.

State Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) said AB 1687 is needed because some casting directors wrongly hold actors’ ages against them even if they look younger.

“It is important that this does impact peoples lives,” Hertzberg said, adding he knows some actors in their 30s who have played teenagers because they look younger than they are.

Republican Sen. Jim Nielsen of Gerber questioned giving one class of employee special treatment.

“I don’t know what’s so sacred about celebrity birth dates,” Nielsen said. “[Lawmaker's] birth dates are everywhere. These celebrities are public figures just like most of us.”

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