Madison Sq. Backyard garden CEO doubles down on use of facial recognition tech


The chief government of the Madison Sq. Garden Enjoyment Company has doubled down on utilizing facial recognition at its venues to bar lawyers suing the group from attending functions.

Speaking to Fox 5 on Thursday, MSG Government Chairman and CEO James Dolan mentioned Madison Square Garden is a non-public organization and as a result entitled to establish who is authorized to enter its venues for functions.

“At Madison Square Yard, if you are suing us, we’re just asking of you – please really do not come until eventually you’re done with your argument with us,” he explained. “And indeed, we’re working with facial recognition to enforce that.”

His opinions occur immediately after New York Lawyer Standard Letitia James on Wednesday despatched a letter to MSG Leisure requesting data regarding its use of facial recognition technological know-how to prohibit authentic ticketholders from coming into venues. The letter reported the attorney general’s office environment has reviewed reports MSG Entertainment has employed facial recognition to discover and deny entry to various attorneys affiliated with law firms associated in ongoing litigation with the corporation. The letter implies 1000’s of attorneys from close to 90 legislation companies may possibly have been impacted by the plan, and explained the ban contains these holding season tickets.

The attorney general’s letter raised the concern that banning individuals from accessing venues in excess of ongoing litigation may violate neighborhood, point out, and federal human legal rights rules, together with legislation prohibiting retaliation. The letter also concerns irrespective of whether the facial recognition software package made use of by MSG Leisure is reputable and what safeguards are in spot to stay away from bias and discrimination.

In a push launch, James reported, “MSG Amusement are unable to fight their lawful battles in their personal arenas. Madison Square Yard and Radio Metropolis Audio Corridor are environment-renowned venues and should really handle all patrons who procured tickets with fairness and regard. Anybody with a ticket to an event should really not be concerned that they could be wrongfully denied entry based on their overall look, and we’re urging MSG Enjoyment to reverse this plan.”

MSG Entertainment owns and operates numerous venues in New York, which includes Madison Sq. Yard, Radio Town Audio Corridor, the Hulu Theater, and the Beacon Theatre. Madison Sq. Backyard is the house of the New York Knicks, Rangers, experienced boxing, and faculty basketball groups.

In a statement Thursday, an MSG spokesperson instructed CNN, “To be clear, our coverage does not unlawfully prohibit any individual from moving into our venues and it is not our intent to dissuade attorneys from representing plaintiffs in litigation against us. We are simply excluding a modest proportion of lawyers only throughout lively litigation.”

“Most importantly,” the spokesperson added, “to even recommend any individual is currently being excluded centered on the safeguarded lessons identified in state and federal civil rights guidelines is ludicrous. Our policy has under no circumstances applied to lawyers symbolizing plaintiffs who allege sexual harassment or employment discrimination.”

In the Fox 5 job interview Thursday, Dolan reported when the attorneys suing MSG finish their litigation, they will be welcome again to the venues. “If your following door neighbor sues you, if someone sues you, appropriate, which is confrontational. It is adversarial and it is wonderful, people are allowed to sue,” he claimed. “But at the same time, if you are being sued, proper, you really do not have to welcome the individual into your house, right?”

Dolan defended the use of facial recognition technological know-how, stating it’s helpful for safety and noting that he thinks Madison Sq. Garden to be a person of the safest venues in the country. “Basically, whenever that you go out in community, you’re on digital camera,” he mentioned. “Believe me, you walk down the avenue, you are on camera, you are on 10 cameras. What facial recognition does is appears to be like at, you know, recognizes your deal with, and states you know, are you a person who’s on this listing.”

Dolan claimed the State Liquor Authority has threatened MSG’s license more than its use of facial recognition technologies. The New York State Liquor Authority advised CNN it issued a “letter of advice” to MSG, immediately after getting a criticism in mid-November about attorneys engaged in litigation from the organization not getting authorized to enter its premises.

“After acquiring a criticism, the State Liquor Authority adopted common treatment and issued a Letter of Suggestions conveying this business’ obligation to keep their premises open to the public, as demanded by the Alcoholic Beverage Command Regulation,” Joshua Heller, a Point out Liquor Authority spokesperson, explained to CNN.

The SLA informed CNN an investigation into the subject is “ongoing”.

During the Fox job interview, Dolan seemingly threatened to shut down revenue of liquor in the course of an unspecified upcoming New York Rangers recreation, and claimed he would direct any upset patrons to the liquor authority to complain.

Dolan also pushed back at the suggestion that he’s being “too sensitive.”

“The Backyard has to defend itself,” Dolan explained. “If you sue us, suitable, you know we’re going to inform you not to appear.”