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August 16, 2016

Gene Roddenberry—Pornographer???

HOLLYWOODLAND—As just about everyone in the U.S. (and likely a lot of other places) knows, mainstream actors and actresses are often hired based on their ages. It often doesn't matter whether or not they look young; if the casting director finds out the performer's actual age, which may be 10 to 20 years older than the person's appearance, that fact alone may cost the player jobs ... because as we all know, thanks to Hollywood, "Young Sells." That truism was the basis of a lawsuit filed in late 2012 by actress Huong Hoang, known professionally as Junie Hoang, against the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), a subsidiary of Amazon.com. Born in 1971, which would have made her 41 at the time she filed suit, the actress could easily pass for mid- to late 20s—but according to her suit papers, "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 as she is thought to have less of an 'upside'; therefore casting directors, producers, directors, agents/managers, etc. do not give her the same opportunities, regardless of her appearance and talent." Hoang lost her suit when, in April of 2013, a jury in Seattle ruled that IMDB's "right to present accurate information" trumped (no relation) Hoang's right to personal privacy regarding her age, and even though the Screen Actors Guild and many of her fellow actors supported her claim, in the end, the power of the massive corporation prevailed. In fact, according to AVN's sources, IMBD is remarkably difficult to deal with in terms of correcting errors on its site—and it appears that that intractability may have inspired some practical joker (read: internet troll) to prank the site, perhaps with the aim of deflating the site managers' yuuuuge egos. Case in point: Gene Roddenberry. As everyone knows, Roddenberry is the creator of Star Trek, the '60s television series that's still being rerun today, and which inspired nearly a dozen movie and TV sequels, both live action and animated. But go to IMDB's Gene Roddenberry page now and something interesting has been added: Every Star Trek parody released by any adult production company (including K-Beech Video, Hustler Video, Digital Sin and others) is now listed on Roddenberry's page under "Writer," with the parody listings also noting "(based on the characters created by)." Of course, Roddenberry had nothing to do with writing any XXX Star Trek parody, and it seems likely that the late creator would have objected to having those parodies listed on his IMDB page, no matter what caveats are given—but based on the experiences of adult writer/director/producer Cash Markman, once something has been added to a page, it would apparently take an act of Congress (or at least the Supreme Court) to get it off. But at least Roddenberry hasn't (yet) been subject to the additional indignity of having his page put behind IMBD's "X-rated" firewall. Markman's page, which used to list his real name and his mainstream projects in addition to his XXX-rated fare, can no longer be accessed through IMDB's internal search engine, and if one wants to find that page, one has to do a Google (or similar) search. In fact, Markman's real identity used to have its own IMDB page, but that's now completely disappeared, along with all its mainstream credits for shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation and Diagnosis: Murder, subsumed into the fake "Markman" identity. At present, there appears to be no legal path to correcting any unwanted or inaccurate information on IMDB, unless the site's programmers take pity on a complainant and remove an unwanted/improper listing—but such occurrences appear to be few and far between. Perhaps a federal lawsuit seeking something like the recent European Union decision that allows ordinary individual to be "forgotten" online might help, but as things now stand, every actor/actress/director/writer/etc. in both Hollywood and XXX is at the mercy of the unknown site programmers for the world's most commonly used entertainment database.

 
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