New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking more information from Madison Square Garden Company about its use of facial recognition to bar legitimate ticket holders from its venues.
Digital Music News has reported on at least three incidents in which lawyers were barred from MSG-owned venues. In the letter, AG James raises the concern that preventing individuals from accessing their venues because of ongoing litigation against the company could violate local, state, and federal human rights laws—including laws against retaliation.
“MSG Entertainment cannot fight their legal battles in their own arenas,” says Attorney General James. “Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall are world-renowned venues and should treat all patrons who purchased tickets with fairness and respect. Anyone with a ticket to an event should not be concerned that they may be wrongfully denied entry based on their appearance, and we’re urging MSG Entertainment to reverse this policy.”
Madison Square Garden Entertainment owns and operates several venues in New York, including Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the Hulu Theater, and the Beacon Theatre. Reports of MSG using its facial recognition software to identify lawyers from firms representing clients engaged in litigation against the company has made headlines since Christmas.
“This policy is estimated to impact all lawyers at more than 90 law firms. In the letter sent today, Attorney General James warns that preventing people from entering their venues may violate New York’s civil and human rights laws and may dissuade lawyers from taking on legitimate cases against the company, including sexual harassment or employment discrimination claims.”
The matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Kyle S. Rapiñan of the Civil Rights Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Travis England. The Civil Rights Bureau is part of the Division for Social Justice, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux and overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.