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IMDb Slammed for Refusing to Remove Trans Actors' Birth Names

IMDb Slammed for Refusing to Remove Trans Actors' Birth Names

IMDb Slammed for Refusing to Remove Trans Actors' Birth Names

Actors say they can't get the site to stop deadnaming them.

rachelkiley

IMDb is under fire after transgender actors complained about their inability to remove their birth names from the filmography website.

Representatives for two actors spoke with IndieWire anonymously, claiming that they had been trying to have the information removed for years, to no avail.

“IMDb is committed to being the most comprehensive source of movie, TV and celebrity information,” a representative for the site said in a statement. “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.”

In contrast, other prominent information-based sites such as Wikipedia seem to have no problem removing birth names from trans actors’ pages when asked.

“It feels very exposing to have that information out there against my will as it is a private thing, and I would like to choose who I get to share it with,” one trans actor said. “With all the trans-related violence and murder, it seems very obtuse to refuse to remove information that could quite literally put people in danger.”

IndieWire’s anonymous sources said that IMDb has even been lobbied by top Hollywood agencies as well as GLAAD, in order to stop deadnaming upon an actor’s request.

“We contacted them immediately and they gave us a total non-apology,” one actor said. “Claiming that it’s public information and they do this with everyone.”

The most IMDb seems to be willing, in some cases, is to move a trans actor’s birth name from the main page to the biography page, where it is listed as “birth name.” This is the same policy the site generally uses when people have stage names, or change their name after marriage.

“It just seems like an infringement of privacy,” trans actor Jake Graf said. “It seems like you’re outing someone. On so many levels, it seems wrong.”

IMDb’s full statement to IndieWire is below:

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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Rachel Kiley

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.