Senator Hoylman-Sigal Urging Sanction For MSG Facial Recognition Refusal List 

January 27, 2023

Today, State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal sent a letter to the commissioners of the NBA and NHL calling on the leagues to sanction Madison Square Garden Entertainment.

The sanction includes and its CEO James Dolan until they end the outrageous practice of using facial recognition to refuse entry to patrons on a so-called “attorney exclusion list” and others deemed to be hostile to the corporate interests of MSG. 

The letter calls attention to the constitutions of the respective organizations, which both prohibit conduct detrimental to their leagues – conduct Mr. Dolan engaged in through actions that are under investigation by the NYS Attorney General, Manhattan District Attorney, and State Liquor Authority for potentially violating New York law.  

In the letter, Senator Hoylman-Sigal said, “I recognize that facial recognition software can aid in securing large venues, but Mr. Dolan has abused this technology to fuel his personal vendettas — not make games safer.”

Find the letter here and attached. 


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Background

Following MSG Entertainment’s using facial recognition to eject a fourth person with a valid ticket simply because of their employment at a law firm engaged in litigation against the company, elected officials and privacy advocates rallied outside and sent a letter to MSG on January 15 to demand MSG Entertainment immediately stop the use of the inappropriate technology on fans.

On January 23, state electeds introduced a bill (S2424) to close a “sporting event” loophole in an 80-year-old law that prohibits “wrongful refusal of admission” to patrons with a valid ticket to “places of public entertainment or amusement.” In retaliation, Mr. Dolan revoked the invitation of an elected official to celebrate a Hockey Pride event with the Rangers, and, on live television, doxxed a civil servant and threatened to punish all fans by refusing to sell alcohol at random games. In a statement in response, Senator Hoylman-Sigal said, “New York shouldn’t allow petty tyrants to impose their warped fantasies on the public while reaping millions each year from taxpayer subsidies.”

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