Actress Loses Age Lawsuit Against IMDb

By ABC News

Apr 12, 2013 5:01pm

The actress who filed a $1 million lawsuit against the Internet movie database IMDb for revealing her real age lost her battle in court Thursday when a federal jury in Seattle rejected her claim.

READ MORE: Actress Sues IMDb, Amazon Over Revealing Her Age

Junie Hoang, 41, sued IMDb and Amazon.com for breach of contract in 2011, alleging that the company changed her information to reveal her true birthday, and thus her true age, and thereby damaged her acting career.

“There was a film that I lost,” Hoang told ABC News.  “A friend of mine got me into the film through my headshot and resume but then when they went to my IMDb profile and saw that I was really that age, they went back and said, ‘Sorry, you’re too old.’”

The judge dismissed IMDb’s parent company, Amazon.com, as a defendant, but Hoang’s case against IMDb was brought to trial.

IMDb is a searchable database that posts photos and lists the acting credits of virtually every actor, director and producer working in Hollywood. Hoang decided to subscribe to an “industry insider” version of the database called IMDbPro. Shortly after she signed up and typed in a credit card number to pay for the monthly subscriber fee, she noticed that her real age was posted and visible for the public — and presumably any casting agent or director —  to see.

In court documents Hoang, who initially filed the lawsuit anonymously as “Jane Doe,” said she believed that both her age and her hard-to-pronounce Asian name were drawbacks in Hollywood where “youth is king.” The lawsuit said that “if one is perceived to be over-the-hill i.e. approaching 40, it is nearly impossible for an up and coming actress, such as the Plaintiff, to get work…”

IMDb used the information from her IMDbPro subscription, which included her credit card and billing information, real name, to conduct a public records search, where they found her real age. Hoang asked IMDbPro to remove the information and they refused.

Calling the practice “unfair, immoral and unscrupulous,” Hoang’s Seattle-based lawyers asked for $1 million in punitive damages, which the jury turned down.

“Everyone understands the importance of IMDb and everybody understands how important age is,” Hoang said after the verdict.  “It’s such a competitive business and why put another factor for someone to deny you from getting work.”

Lawyers for IMDb , who declined to comment to ABC News, argued in court that the company has a First Amendment right to publish accurate information and that Hoang could not prove she had lost any money or acting roles because of her age being revealed, according to the Associated Press.

Hoang says she plans to continue her legal fight against IMDb, as well as the broader issue of ageism in Hollywood.

“I want to keep up the fight for everyone because I know that the majority of people in the business feel the way I do,” she said.

Hoang also plans to continue acting.

The actress, who has starred in the films “Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver” and “Hoodrats 2: Hoodrat Warriors,” will next be seen in “Exotic Dancers of Houston” and “Pretty Perfect, “according to IMDb.

ABC News’ Anne-Marie Dorning and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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