IMDb officially moved to change its policy regarding birth names on the platform, an issue LGBTQ groups and transgender actors took issue with.
IMDb will now allow its users to remove birth names “if the birth name is not broadly publicly known and the person no longer voluntarily uses their birth name,” according to a spokesperson in a statement to Variety.
It has to do with “dead-naming,” when people, specifically those in the transgender community, are called their previous names instead of their chosen names.
In April, two anonymous trans actors told IndieWire that IMDb was still publishing their birth names without their consent and they received a “non apology” in response. Multiple LGBTQ groups urged IMDb to change the policy, going as far as to side with SAG-AFTRA’s fight against IMDb on member privacy.
On Monday, IMDb’s new rule was announced.
“To remove a birth name, either the person concerned or their professional industry representative simply needs to contact IMDb’s customer support staff to request a birth name removal,” the spokesperson said. “Once the IMDb team determines that an individual’s birth name should be removed — subject to this updated process — we will review and remove every occurrence of their birth name within their biographical page on IMDb.”
Regarding people credited on screen as their birth name, Variety reports the “credited name will remain listed in the credits section of applicable IMDb name and title pages in parentheses.”
This, per IMDb, “is in order to continue providing IMDb’s hundreds of millions of customers worldwide with comprehensive information about film and TV credits, thereby preserving the factual historical record by accurately reflecting what is listed on screen.”
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