An age-old prejudice

Bias against those not young is a real problem in the movie industry. But does an actress have a right to lie about her age?

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When is your real age not your real age? The answer, it seems, is when you are a Hollywood star.

According to the film industry paper The Hollywood Reporter, an actress has filed a lawsuit in a Seattle federal court against the movie website IMBD for publishing her real age without her permission. The star, who remains anonymous in the lawsuit, claims that advertising the fact that she is 40 could adversely affect her ability to land top roles, as many directors and producers might perceive her to be "over the hill".

It is a sad reflection of our times, and Hollywood's shallow bias, that an actress who is described as "up-and-coming" is - justifiably - worried about discrimination. Ageism in the film industry does exist, but many will argue that a bit of experience adds to the allure.

At 77, Dame Judi Dench continues to collect the awards - including an Oscar and several Golden Globes - for her stage and screen roles. Likewise, Dame Helen Mirren shines at the age of 66. Meanwhile Meryl Streep, at the grand young age of 62, is widely considered to be one of the finest living actors. There are many more.

The scorned actress is suing for $1 million (Dh3.67 million). The irony in Hollywood today, however, is that a lawsuit might be a better career move than an Oscar-winning performance.