Actress Suing IMDb Faces Tough Questions on Second Day of Trial
Actress Suing IMDb Takes the Witness Stand
Huong Hoang, the actress suing IMDb for revealing her age, got her second day at trial to prove her case after opening arguments were delivered on Monday.
On Tuesday, the jury heard testimony from three witnesses -- Hoang, her agent Joe Kolkowitz and IMDb’s customer service manager Giancarlo Cairella.
It was a lively day, full of discussion about an actor's livelihood, how actors are cast and more about the relationship between a prominent website and the people who use it. And, of course, on a day that put a spotlight on the roles that people play, there was an O.J. Simpson cameo.
Ultimately, the trial continues to investigate IMDb's right to use Hoang's personal information as well as the conduct of both sides in living up to their respective responsibilities. The trial is now moving towards a conclusion.
Here's a look at what was said on Day 2:
More testimony from Hoang:
Taking questions on direct examination, Hoang spoke about her work and how she has been compensated as an actress.
The plaintiff was sharply questioned on cross-examination.
Harry Schneider, IMDb’s lawyer, walked Hoang through her tax returns. Without coming out and saying it, he highlighted that Hoang didn’t make very much money from acting, and that she deducted a fair amount of expenses for the amount of money she made. For example, her acting income in 2010 was between $1000 and $2000, but she deducted amounts for hair and makeup ($987), shoes ($318.86) and miscellaneous expenses ($523). The implication was that Hoang's acting was more of a hobby and less of a serious occupation.
The most grueling part of the cross examination came when Schneider walked Hoang through the IMDb user agreement and its provisions where users promise to submit accurate information.
“You knew you were obligated to make sure the information you provided [to IMDb] was true and accurate, didn't you?” Schneider asked Hoang repeatedly.
The attorney pointed Hoang's attention to various ways she had made some artifice -- submitting an incorrect birthdate initially (she entered in text indicating that she had a supporting birth certificate), entering information through accounts other than her own (despite prohibitions in the user agreement against sharing passwords and accounts), attempting to convince IMDb's customer service that someone else submitted the original date of birth information, and finally, sending over a fake passport image and a fake ID.
In the end, Hoang threw up her arms and admitted she did indeed submit inaccurate information, particularly when she was trying to get the birthdate deleted because she was at wit's end. Still, Schneider pressed on, pointing out numerous inaccuracies in the emails she sent to customer service. For example, at one point, when seeking to have her birthdate corrected, she claimed that “her old representation messed up." She also insinuated in one of the emails that she was a third party sending in information about Hoang's inaccurate birthdate and she knew Hoang.