A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that the State of California can’t move forward in enforcing a law that makes it illegal for the entertainment news site IMDbPro to publish actors’ ages.
At the beginning of the year, IMDb filed a federal lawsuit against then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris seeking an injunction to stop enforcement of AB 1687, which went into effect January 1. Today, Judge Vince Chhabria found enough to grant the injunction, saying “it’s difficult to imagine how AB 1687 could not violate the First Amendment” and that the government has not shown how the bill is “necessary” in achieving the goal of preventing age discrimination in Hollywood.
“Accordingly, the government is enjoined from enforcing AB 1687 while this lawsuit is
pending,” he wrote (read the ruling here.)
SAG-AFTRA responded quickly to today’s ruling in the U.S. District Court for the North District of California. The guild had been a major proponent of the bill, which was signed into law in September.
“We are disappointed that the court has chosen to temporarily halt the State of California’s legal efforts to fully protect its citizens from employment discrimination,” said SAG-AFTRA COO and general counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. “We look forward to the upcoming opportunity to present evidence to the Court of how this law will reduce or eliminate the age discrimination facilitated by IMDb.com.
“This is an early skirmish in what will be a long-term battle to ensure that entertainment industry workers are granted the same minimum employment protections as all other workers. SAG-AFTRA will continue to fight until we achieve for actors and other entertainment industry professionals, the same rights to freedom from age discrimination in hiring enjoyed by other workers in other industries.”
AB 1687 was narrowly crafted to apply only to “commercial online entertainment employment providers” that charge a “subscribers” fee, as does IMDbPro. Online publications such as Deadline Hollywood – which can be viewed for free – are not subject to the law.