Taking on ageism: Milken's Paul Irving
Paul Irving, Chairman of Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, responds to an article in the Los Angeles Times about age discrimination in Hollywood:
On August 17, the Los Angeles Times reported on California Senate approval of AB 1687, a bill that would allow actors to keep their ages undisclosed on websites that provide entertainment industry employment services. The bill is a well-intended effort by political leaders to address age discrimination in Hollywood. Their attention to this problem deserves praise, but ageism in media can't be overcome by political action alone. And hiding age is certainly not a long-term solution to an issue that should be brought to the forefront.
In a culture obsessed with youth, film, television and social media continue to promote negative age bias. Older actors, writers and directors are relegated to the sidelines. Stories reinforce a narrative of age-based decline. There are new images of older adults emerging from Hollywood—"Grace and Frankie," "The Intern," "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" are examples—but far too few.
It's time for the industry to step up and lead a new conversation about the value and roles of older adults. It's time for actors to proudly and publicly talk about their age and experience. It’s time for producers, directors and writers to reflect the dignity of older adults through responsible storytelling. Hollywood has belatedly embraced diversity, but the age component of diversity cannot be ignored. Like racism, ageism is a failing that we must overcome. After all, aging is the one thing we all have in common—if we're lucky.
Paul H. Irving
Chairman of Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging
Read the original LA Times article here.