November 30, 2011 12:07pm PT by Eriq Gardner
SAG Says Woman Who Sued IMDb for Revealing Age Has 'Legitimate' Fear of Being Blacklisted
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the deputy national executive director and general counsel of the Screen Actors Guild, is sticking up for the privacy of the anonymous woman who sued the Internet Movie Database for revealing her age. In a new declaration to the court, Crabtree-Ireland says that the woman's fears of being "blacklisted" if revealed are well-founded.
The declaration was filed on Monday as a judge weighs a motion by Amazon.com, owner of IMDb, to dismiss the case if the woman doesn't step forward to reveal herself. As we first reported, Amazon earlier this month called the woman "selfish" and argued that allowing her to proceed anonymously would prejudice the legal proceedings.
After previously condemning IMDb for revealing actors' ages, SAG is now officially fighting Amazon's motion.
Crabtree-Ireland says in his declaration (read it below) that research consistently shows that performers over the age of 40 are "very significantly underrepresented in roles cast" and that "allowing oneself to be prematurely pigeon-holed as an 'over 40' actress can be very harmful."
The SAG general counsel says that he has personally spoken to dozens of actors who have complained about IMDb practices, many of whom have "stated their concerns about being blacklisted once identified as a 'complainer,' and have been very reticent to publically step forward due to the anticipated career and personal consequences for doing so."
He concludes by saying that the woman's fears of being identified are "a very legitimate concern, particularly in light of the publicity this case has generated."
Separately, the plaintiff's lawyer, John Dozier Jr., has also submitted a declaration that says his client is "already the target of retaliation, harassment and ridicule."
The attorney accuses IMDb of retaliating against his client for bringing the lawsuit, by having her account "flagged" and making it difficult for her to control any information. As one example, he says that IMDb is now refusing to acknowledge and publish certain of the woman's acting credits.
Dozier also points to more than 750 articles written on the lawsuit and attaches 22 pages of harmful statements directed at the woman on the Internet. The attorney adds that since the filing of the lawsuit, his law firm has been contacted by numerous entertainment industry professionals complaining of similar experiences.
Here's the declaration by Crabtree-Ireland: