Bloomberg Law
Free Newsletter Sign Up
Login
BROWSE
Bloomberg Law
Welcome
Login
Advanced Search Go
Free Newsletter Sign Up

Madison Square Garden Pressed by NY AG James Over Face Scans (1)

Jan. 25, 2023, 4:28 PMUpdated: Jan. 25, 2023, 9:39 PM

New York Attorney General Letitia James is raising concerns about Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp.'s reported use of facial recognition technology to prevent lawyers from accessing its venues because of ongoing litigation against the company.

Blocking access to ticketholders who are affiliated with law firms involved in pending suits against MSG may violate local, state, and federal human rights laws, including laws prohibiting retaliation, James wrote in a Tuesday letter to MSG executives.

The letter also questions whether the facial recognition software that MSG uses to identify individuals is reliable, citing research that suggests the technology may be biased against people of color and women.

MSG Entertainment owns and operates several venues in New York, including Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall. The company has told lawyers at firms representing clients who are suing MSG that they’re not allowed to enter its venues until the litigation is resolved, according to reporting by The New York Times.

Barring entry to lawyers may discourage them from taking on cases against MSG, James said in her letter.

MSG Entertainment disputed the suggestion that its policy unlawfully prohibits people from entering venues.

“It is not our intent to dissuade attorneys from representing plaintiffs in litigation against us,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “We are merely excluding a small percentage of lawyers only during active litigation.”

The spokesperson added that the company’s policy hasn’t applied to attorneys representing plaintiffs who allege sexual harassment or employment discrimination.

“MSG Entertainment cannot fight their legal battles in their own arenas,” James said in a statement Wednesday.

“Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall are world-renowned venues and should treat all patrons who purchased tickets with fairness and respect,” she said. “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.”

(Updated with comment from MSG Entertainment.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Vittorio in Washington at avittorio@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com