When Kelly Conlon joined her daughter’s Girl Scout troop for a fun outing to see the Rockettes perform their Christmas Spectacular show at Radio City Music Hall in New York, she had no idea she would end up booted from the show once she entered the building.
Security stopped Conlon, NBC New York reported, because she is a New Jersey lawyer. It seems that Madison Square Garden Entertainment has begun using facial recognition technology to identify any visitor to any of its venues—including Radio City Music Hall—who is involved with any law firm that is actively involved in litigation against MSG Entertainment.
Conlon has never practiced law in New York nor personally been involved in litigation against MSG Entertainment. Instead, she is guilty by association, as an associate for Davis, Saperstein and Solomon, which has spent years tangled up in litigation against a restaurant that NBC reported is “now under the umbrella of MSG Entertainment.”
According to Conlon, she became aware of this supposed conflict of interest when security guards approached her in the Radio City Music Hall lobby just as she passed through the metal detector. Over the speakers, Conlon heard a warning about a woman in a gray scarf, then security confirmed the warning was about her, telling her, “Our recognition picked you up.”
Despite Conlon assuring security that “I’m not an attorney that works on any cases against MSG,” she was escorted out. Ars could not immediately reach MSG for comment, but in a statement, MSG said the same thing would’ve happened to any attorney involved in her firm, claiming that her firm had been “notified twice” of MSG’s policy. [Update: MSG declined Ars’ request to comment further.]
“MSG instituted a straightforward policy that precludes attorneys pursuing active litigation against the Company from attending events at our venues until that litigation has been resolved,” the statement provided to NBC said. “While we understand this policy is disappointing to some, we cannot ignore the fact that litigation creates an inherently adverse environment.”
A New York Times report suggests that MSG began using facial recognition technology in 2018 to “bolster security.” MSG venues post signs to notify visitors that the technology is being used. Ars could not immediately reach Conlon for comment, but she told NBC that she posed no threat at the Rockettes show, insisting, “I was just a mom taking my daughter to see a Christmas show.” She described her experience as “embarrassing” and “mortifying.”
Instead of attending the festive show with her daughter, Conlon waited outside. NBC reported that others who have been blacklisted have sued MSG over the policy, viewing it as MSG’s way of punishing law firms that go after the titan of entertainment. One firm so far has fought and won in court, becoming the only exception to the policy, but MSG is still appealing that decision.