Third NYC Lawyer Booted from MSG by Facial Recognition Tech

MSG facial recognition
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MSG facial recognition
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Photo Credit: Ajay Suresh / CC by 2.0

A third NYC attorney has been booted from MSG by James Dolan’s facial recognition system.

A New York lawyer says he was denied entry at a Rangers game held at Madison Square Garden after being flagged by the same facial recognition technology used to boot at least two other attorneys from its venues.

Benjamin Pinczewski, a 61-year-old personal injury and civil rights lawyer from Brooklyn, had passed through a metal detector at the arena on his way to be seated with friends on January 10. Then he was stopped by two officials and kicked out of the venue.

“It was a slap in the face,” he says. “I’m at the main entrance with thousands of people, and they’re looking at me like I’m some sort of terrorist or criminal.”

Pinczewski was informed that he was denied entry due to the policy implemented by MSG CEO James Dolan, which bans all lawyers involved in active lawsuits against the organization. Pinczewski called the policy “petty and ridiculous” and was “stunned” that his likeness was used without his permission. He clarified that he’s not working directly on the lawsuit against MSG but has a job at the firm that filed it: Elefterakis, Elefterakis & Panek. 

“It’s simply harassment for the purposes of putting a chilling effect on anyone who wants to sue (them),” he says. “I’m pissed — pardon my language.”

Pinczewski’s removal follows that of a New Jersey attorney booted from a Rockettes show at Radio City, which is among Dolan’s empire of venues. An attorney from Long Island was ejected from a Knicks game at MSG on November 5.

Madison Square Garden Entertainment has defended its policy, sending The New York Post the same statement it has distributed to news outlets for weeks since the facial recognition controversy began:

“MSG instituted a straightforward policy that precludes attorneys from firms pursuing active litigation against the Company from attending events at our venues until that litigation has been resolved. While we understand this policy is disappointing to some, we cannot ignore the fact that litigation creates an inherently adversarial environment. All impacted attorneys were notified of the policy. We continue to make clear that impacted attorneys will be welcome back to our venues upon resolution of the litigation.”

While a spokesperson did not respond to outlets’ inquiries about whether MSG plans to continue using facial recognition, Pinczewski and other lawyers have criticized the system as an invasion of privacy.

“I want to shine a light on this,” Pinczewski explains, vowing he would never go to another Rangers game again. “I want them to stop this.”