Anonymous Actress Who Sued IMDB For Revealing Her Age Ordered To Reveal Her Name
from the dig-your-own-hole dept
Whether or not this statement is true is still being debated, but the lawsuit went further, stating basically that the actress in question looked so much younger than her actual age that she couldn't even land roles that asked specifically for 40-year-old women. This presumably was also hotly debated and (more likely) swiftly derided.
Unfortunately for Ms. Whomever, the presiding judge has ordered her to reveal her name in order to proceed with the lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman granted an order to dismiss the plaintiff's case on Friday, pursuant to a rule that requires a complaint to name all parties. Pechman gave the woman 14 days as of Friday to include her real name in the complaint.This is the sort of thing that happens when you try to bury "unsavory" facts: you set yourself up for a full-frontal Streisand. In order for her to collect from Amazon for "breach of contract, fraud, and violations of Washington State's privacy and consumer protection acts," she'll have to give away the only remaining bit of information everyone needs to put 2 and 2 together and come up with "over 40." This leaves her with two choices, neither of which could really be considered satisfactory: drop the lawsuit and retain her anonymity or proceed with the lawsuit as "Actress Over 40 Who is Unable to Land Roles, Thanks to Both 'Ageism' and 'Reverse Ageism.'"
"[W]hile Plaintiff may face public ridicule and embarrassment if she elects to go forward under her real name, the injury she fears is not severe enough to justify permitting her to proceed anonymously," Pechman noted in her order.
Judge Pechman realizes the unpleasantness of these choices, but points out that the "unpleasantness" the actress faces from revealing her name is an order of magnitude below the potential "unpleasantness" faced in previous anonymously-filed suits that were allowed to proceed. Pechman quotes from an earlier case that the actress' lawsuit borrows some case language from and compares the two:
The Plaintiff in the present case borrows this language and asserts that disclosing her identity will subject her to "industry blacklisting and loss of livelihood." (Dkt. No. 25 at 7.)Other precedent is cited as well, basically stating that any amount of "discrimination" or "retaliation" as a result of this lawsuit is not severe enough to allow her to proceed anonymously.
However, while revealing Plaintiff's identity may negatively affect her prospects of being hired as an actress, the harm she faces is of an order of magnitude less than the potential harm faced by the foreign garment workers in Advanced Textile Corp. In this case, Plaintiff is not working on a small island where her immigration status is directly tied to her employment. 214 F.3d at 1062. She is not facing eviction from company-owned housing. 214 F.3d at 1062. She faces no risk of deportation or retaliation directed at her family. 214 F.3d at 1062-63. Instead, Plaintiff argues she faces "new-age harms" such as "cyber bullying." (Dkt. No. 25 at 7.) While the economic harms she alleges may be real, Plaintiff present no evidence that the retaliation she may encounter is at all similar to the truly grave harms plaintiffs feared in Advanced Textile Corp.
The sad thing is that most of the damage being done to her future career options is self-inflicted. If this actress thought her ability to land roles was diminished by IMDB's posting of her real age, it's going to be nothing compared to the fallout of this lawsuit, if she decides to proceed under her real name. Her own complaint makes it clear that there's little demand for actresses her age, despite the fact that she looks much "younger." This leaves potential casting directors in an unenviable position: do you cast her in "age-appropriate" roles, knowing that you'll be subjecting yourself to long conversations with the actress and her agent about how she looks "too young" to play the offered part? Or do you take her youthful claims at face value and cast her in younger roles, hoping that the end result doesn't resemble an episode of Beverly Hills 90210?
Good luck with that.