NY AG Letitia James is pressuring MSG over its use of facial recognition technology

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State Attorney General Letitia James speaks during Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the National Action Network House of Justice headquarters.

Lev Radin | Rocket | Getty Images

New York Attorney General Letitia James wants to hear from Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corporation about the company’s reported use of facial recognition technology at its locations.

MSG Entertainment reportedly used the technology to identify and deny entry to multiple attorneys associated with law firms involved in pending lawsuits related to the company, including those with season tickets. About 90 law firms were affected by this policy, according to a letter she sent to the firm on Tuesday.

Preventing attorneys from accessing MSG Entertainment’s locations because of pending litigation may violate local, state and federal human rights laws, James wrote.

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MSG Entertainment owns and operates venues in New York, including Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, and the Hulu Theater.

“MSG Entertainment cannot fight their legal battles in their own arenas,” James said in a release announcing her letter on Wednesday.

“Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall are world-renowned venues and should treat all customers who purchased tickets with fairness and respect,” she said. “Anyone with a ticket to an event should not worry about being unfairly denied entry based on their appearance, and we are urging MSG Entertainment to reverse this policy.”

Madison Square Garden Entertainment responded to the letter later Wednesday.

“To be clear, our policy does not prohibit anyone from entering our premises unlawfully and it is not our intention to prevent attorneys from representing plaintiffs in lawsuits against us. We only exclude a small percentage of attorneys during active litigation,” said a spokesperson. . said in a statement. Most importantly, it is ridiculous to even suggest excluding anyone based on the protected classes identified in state and federal civil rights laws. Our policy has never applied to attorneys representing plaintiffs who have alleged sexual harassment or discrimination. claim at work.”

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James also wrote in the letter that facial recognition software used by MSG Entertainment may not be fully reliable and could lead to instances of discrimination and prejudice, particularly against people of color and women.

The company has said in the past that it complies with applicable laws, including those related to discrimination.

Late last year, Kelly Conlon and her daughter were banned from Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular show after being identified by facial recognition software. Conlon is an associate of the Davis, Saperstein, and Solomon law firm, which has been involved in personal injury litigation against a restaurant location under MSG Entertainment for years.

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“MSG has put in place a clear policy barring attorneys who have an active lawsuit against the company from attending events at our locations until that lawsuit is resolved,” an MSG Entertainment spokesperson said at the time. “While we understand that this policy may be disappointing to some, we cannot ignore the fact that litigation creates an inherently adverse environment.”

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