Madison Square Garden The company’s controversial policy of barring lawyers filing lawsuits against the company from venues came as three New York lawmakers introduced a new bill seeking to ban MSG’s practices at sporting events. We are facing more pressure.
State Senators Brad Hoyleman Segal and Liz Krueger, and Rep. Tony Simon introduced a bill Monday seeking to amend existing state civil rights laws that date back to the 1940s. The language stipulates that theaters, music halls and concert halls may not deny entry to ticket holders who arrive at the venue with valid tickets. The proposed bill would add “sporting events” to the list of eligible events.
The lawmakers’ proposal comes after Madison Square Garden has fired at least four lawyers from the venue since October and their companies have filed lawsuits against MSG. As troubling as the ban itself was, the venue appears to have used facial recognition technology to identify lawyers. Proponents of the technology say biometric scanning improves event security, but critics fear potential abuse.
Barbara Hart, an attorney at Grant & Eisenhofer, whose firm has filed a lawsuit with MSG but is not working on the lawsuit himself, said. rolling stone In December, at Brandi Carlile’s MSG concert in October, security personnel stopped and identified her without looking at her ID. was kicked out of the Radio City Rockettes show at Radio City Music Hall.
“This is an act of retaliation against others by those in power, and it concerns us,” Hart said. “It was a very eerie experience to be on the receiving end in that moment.”
The bill proposal is just the latest effort by Kruger, Hoylman-Sigal and Simone to block MSG’s policies. Just over a week ago, he protested outside his MSG with three other lawmakers, including Congressman Jerry Nadler. (Simone new york post After he attended an event last week, MSG withdrew his event invitation. )
“MSG claims it is deploying biometric technology for public safety when excluding sports fans from its gardens. In at least four reported cases, regulars were evicted from venues This is absurd given that the customer was not a safety threat and instead was a company attorney representing the client in the lawsuit against MSG,” Hoylman-Sigal said in a statement after the bill was proposed. . “Our legislation will close loopholes in state laws that allow MSG to remove fans from gardens and encourage the cessation of surveillance for non-security purposes.”
Several law firms sued MSG over this policy, and in November a judge ruled that MSG could cancel and refuse to sell tickets to patrons, but if presented, lawyers would enter at the door. Issued a preliminary injunction against the company ruling that it cannot refuse to do so. valid ticket. However, this ruling only applied to concerts and plays. Madison Square Garden and both firms have appealed to the New York Court of Appeals.
The Madison Square Garden Company has repeatedly stated that its policies do not violate the law. Regarding the new bill, a company spokesperson dismissed the bill as an improper allocation of time and resources. The fact that they had the courage to stand up says a lot about their priorities,” the spokesperson said. “Instead of focusing on fixing an 80-year-old law that was poorly worded and misunderstood, we want these elected officials to have laws that address issues that voters actually care about. I urge you to implement it.”
The company also pointed to previous statements that clarified that facial recognition technology does not retain images of anyone unless entry to MSG venues is prohibited or identified as a security threat. .
Larry Hutcher, a company representing a ticket reseller in a lawsuit against MSG Entertainment, sued the company over policy and appealed a judge’s ruling in an attempt to expand the policy to include sporting events. Hatcher applauds the bill’s introduction and hopes it will be passed to stop venues from banning him and his colleagues from attending events.
“The loophole that MSG has relied on to continue its ban on sports is that sports venues were not explicitly included in New York Civil Rights Act Section 40-b,” says Hatcher. “We argued that Madison Square Garden should be considered one venue because it hosts both concerts and sports, but a judge restricted the right to go to concerts. We are aware that we can and are very pleased that we are taking steps to do so.”
Besides the ban, Hatcher said he hopes lawmakers will also look to facial recognition technology, which he fears violates privacy rights.
“They got facial recognition photos from our website,” says Hatcher. “They viewed it as abusive and created what was essentially my digital fingerprint. The fact that they are putting it into the system without my consent or without my knowledge is very disturbing. I hope that future use will also be addressed, this is a situation where I believe technology is ahead of the law and people are still unprepared as to what the limits of use should be. I haven’t been able to.”