SAG-AFTRA sponsored a California State bill in 2017 asking sites like IMDb to remove or not post actors’ ages or birthdays upon request. The bill was signed into law by then-Governor Jerry Brown but was later struck down by a federal judge.
GLAAD stated that publishing transgender people’s birth names without permission is an invasion of privacy and could lead to discrimination.
“I’m so pleased that IMDb worked closely with us to understand and support the needs of SAG-AFTRA members and all entertainment industry professionals,” SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher said in a press statement. “It is the dawn of a new, more collaborative relationship with IMDb and SAG-AFTRA members. Now, a performer can claim their page and manage their demographic data on their IMDbPro and IMDb pages for free. This means professionals can choose how they want to represent themselves to fans and industry decision-makers. And it will make it easier for casting directors, producers, and others to discover and hire talent from all backgrounds for their project. Bravo IMDb, for your inclusive and honorable approach. May every company follow your lead.”
Drescher wrote to SAG-AFTRA members, “I think you’ll agree that this is a major step forward in championing diversity and providing many more opportunities for talent from all backgrounds to be discovered and hired by entertainment industry decision-makers. I am so grateful to all of the leaders at IMDb for their inclusive and honorable approach and their willingness to collaborate with SAG-AFTRA and so many others in the industry. I know that these enhancements will prove beneficial to our membership and support the IMDb mission to be the most accurate and complete source of entertainment information.”
The new IMDb gives entertainment industry professionals the option to self-submit or verify their age and birth year, birth name, alternate names, and other demographic information, as well as choose whether or not to display that information on the website.
Vice president of the GLAAD Media Institute Nick Adams added, “GLAAD knows that it’s crucial for LGBTQ+ professionals working in entertainment to authentically represent themselves, and the product and policy advancements IMDb is announcing today illustrate their commitment to supporting the entertainment industry’s evolution towards greater inclusion. We are proud to have worked closely with IMDb on these important updates.”
IMDb founder and CEO Col Needham said, “The significant updates we are announcing today reflect our continuing commitment to being the most accurate and comprehensive source of information about movies, TV shows, talent, and entertainment industry professionals. As trusted sources for entertainment fans and industry decision-makers to discover talent from all backgrounds, IMDb and IMDbPro are uniquely positioned to help support and accelerate progress towards a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive entertainment industry.”
Per IMDb, in May 2022, IMDbPro began launching options for members to opt into self-identifying their demographic information, including gender/gender identity, race/ethnicity, disabilities, and sexual orientation, and choosing which of these fields display in IMDbPro search results and a new “Personal Details” section on their IMDbPro name page. Members can also choose whether this information displays in a new, self-verified section on their IMDb name page. These options are available to all entertainment professionals with a standard or free IMDbPro membership. Demographic response options will be continually updated based on ongoing collaboration with organizations specializing in anti-bias, bullying prevention, diversity, equity, and inclusion and with input from IMDbPro members.
In August 2022, IMDbPro launched its first-ever free membership plan, giving entertainment professionals with an existing IMDb name page access to newly added self-identification features and a basic search experience, with the option to upgrade to a standard membership for full access to features on IMDbPro.