With Pride Month Underway, SAG-AFTRA Joined in IMDb Appeal by LGBTQ Groups Fighting Invasion of Privacy of Transgender People
June 26, 2019
Transgender Law Center, National LGBTQ Task Force, GLAAD Sign on as Supporters
LOS ANGELES – During a historic week in the LGBTQ rights movement, SAG-AFTRA announced that a coalition of national LGBTQ groups is backing the union in its fight for member privacy against IMDb.
Friday, June 28, marks the 50th anniversary of the riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York, a moment credited as the beginning of the modern-day LGBTQ equality movement. Now, groups including the National LGBTQ Task Force, the country’s oldest national LGBTQ advocacy group; GLAAD; the Transgender Law Center; the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund; Transcend Legal, Inc.; and Equality Federation have signed on to support SAG-AFTRA in the fight against IMDb profiting from performers’ private information.
SAG-AFTRA has been fighting for enforcement of California’s anti-age discrimination law, known as AB 1687, which requires subscription-based entertainment casting databases such as IMDbPro and IMDb.com to remove paid subscribers’ date of birth information upon request. In February 2018, a judge stopped enforcement of the law. SAG-AFTRA and its allies are currently appealing that ruling and expect an oral argument date in the Ninth Circuit by the end of the year.
This coalition of groups joining the case are gravely concerned with IMDb’s continued publication of the birth names of transgender performers and people in the entertainment industry without their consent.
“We endorse the position of SAG-AFTRA and its amici in upholding the constitutionality of AB 1687 because IMDb has exhibited a similarly defiant attitude with respect to publishing actors’ and other industry professionals’ ages and birthdates without those individuals’ consent,” the groups said in their legal filing. “As has been recently reported, plaintiff-appellee IMDb.com, Inc. has been recalcitrant when it comes to the issue of publicizing the birth names of transgender individuals in the entertainment industry without their consent… They do so despite removal requests, complaints, and even lobbying from management and advocacy groups.”
“Highlighting how IMDb is invading the privacy of transgender performers by publishing their birth names is another facet of this case that we hope will help make it clear to the appellate judges that the harm here is fundamental and compelling, and that the California law is necessary in order to remedy it,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel.
Crabtree-Ireland currently serves as a Stonewall Ambassador along with SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White.
“The court has so far failed to understand or recognize the massive impact the publication of this personal information can have on the careers and lives of working performers,” said Crabtree-Ireland.
SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said, “This is a case about the human rights of all performers. I want to thank these groups for signing on and showcasing how damaging the unregulated publication of performers’ personal data can be. We want to see this law enforced and are taking every step necessary to achieve that goal.”
These groups join a growing list of supporters backing SAG-AFTRA in the ongoing legal proceedings, including AARP, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, California Labor Federation, L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and Berkeley Law Professor Catherine Fisk.
To read the letter, please click here.
Stay tuned! You’ll be glad you did.
The Ol’ SAG Watchdog
*The headline photo selected by the Watchdog