Trans Actors Call Out IMDb For Publishing Birth Names, Address Consequences Of “Deadnaming”

UPDATED with full statement from IMDb. IMDb is getting dragged for publishing the birth names of trans actors without their permission. Known as “deadnaming”, the outing of their birth names can bring about stress and possibly lead to harassment and discrimination.

Two anonymous trans actors told IndieWire that they have told IMDb to remove their birth names numerous times but they hadn’t complied. Even with the help from their management, reps and GLAAD, their names continued to be displayed.

After contacting IMDb, one of the trans actors said they gave a “non-apology” and they claimed that it’s public information and “they do this with everyone.” Another trans actor failed to get their birth name removed after “months of back and forth”. They eventually were able to change their name on their profile, but the birth name is still displayed in the “Bio” section.

Another actor said they failed to get IMDb to remove their birth name as recently as late 2017 when, after “months of back and forth,” they were finally able to change the name on their profile. Their birth name still appears in the “Bio” section and next to roles they played prior to the change.

An edit button on IMDb profile pages are available for registered users to make corrections and edits, but the actors were unable to change specific details on their profiles. Under their company policy, IMDb states “We are committed to accuracy and it is our longstanding policy not to alter or remove correct factual information from our records.”

In a full statement given to Deadline in regards to the issue, an IMDb spokesperson said:

IMDb is committed to being the most authoritative and complete source of film, TV and celebrity information. Our users trust that when they use IMDb, they are receiving comprehensive and accurate biographical information.

IMDb strives to represent an individual’s gender identity while also accurately reflecting cast and crew listings as they appear in a production’s on-screen credits at the time of original release. When we become aware via our standard data contribution methods that an individual has changed their gender and/or name, we use the new gender and/or name on their page and credits. For productions they previously worked on, their credited name is also available in parentheses, in order to accurately reflect what was listed on-screen. This process is applied uniformly, consistently and without bias to preserve the factual historical record. For any individuals who wish to specify their preferred pronouns these can be recorded as part of their biography section.

Every page on IMDb has an ‘Edit’ button which any registered user can use to submit additions or corrections to IMDb content. Additionally, we have customer support staff to handle any question or request which, for any reason, can’t be communicated via our standard data contribution forms.

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