The New York Attorney General is investigating allegations that the owner of Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden Arena used facial recognition technology to bar lawyers involved in lawsuits against entertainment companies from attending the event. .
In a letter sent Tuesday to MSG Entertainment, which owns Radio City Music Hall, Letitia James’ office said thousands of attorneys at 90 companies had been banned from their sites for violating civil rights law. It said it had reviewed reports that suggested it had been done.
“MSG Entertainment cannot fight a legal battle on their own stage,” said James, whose office also raised concerns that technology could discriminate against minorities. Those who do not need to worry that they may be unfairly denied entry based on their physical appearance, and we are urging MSG Entertainment to rescind this policy.”
MSG Entertainment did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last year, New York attorney Larry Hatcher said MSG had canceled his basketball season tickets and barred him from entering several venues after he represented a ticket reseller in a separate lawsuit against MSG. It sued MSG in state court, claiming it banned it.
Several other lawyers involved in the lawsuit against MSG said in November in a Delaware court they also received letters barring them from entering MSG venues.
Attorney in the case, Gregory Vararo, told the court that MSG “used facial recognition software to scrape every web page of every company involved and used that facial recognition software in gardens and other venues. I did,’ he said.
According to the lawsuit transcript, he continued to mock, “The idea that I was found out – my evil plan to go to the Gardens and talk to the pretzel seller about litigation strategy was revealed.”
The move by the New York Attorney General comes days after state senators introduced legislation aimed at closing legal loopholes and banning “unreasonable denials” at sporting events.
“MSG’s use of facial recognition technology… State Senator Liz Krueger said on Monday that it was an unacceptable invasion of the privacy of all patrons, and that people who might want to pursue a day in court against the company would have to It is a blatant attempt to intimidate and bully.
“It is time for the city and state to reconsider all permits, licenses and benefits provided to MSG in the face of MSG’s continued misconduct.”
The senator also claimed that MSG rescinded an invitation from a local council member to an MSG event after he attended a press conference on the use of facial recognition.