A recent incident at Radio City Music Hall involving the mother of a Girl Scout is shedding light on the growing controversy surrounding facial recognition, as critics claim it is being used to target perceived enemies — in this case, by one of the country’s most famous companies.
Kelly Conlon and her daughter visited New York City the weekend after Thanksgiving as part of a Girl Scout field trip to Radio City Music Hall to see the Christmas Spectacular show. While her daughter, other members of the Girl Scout troop, and their mothers were allowed to attend the show, Conlon was not.
That’s because Conlon isn’t just any mom to Madison Square Garden Entertainment. They had identified and zeroed in on her as security guards approached her just as he entered the lobby.
“It was pretty simultaneous, I think, to me, going through the metal detector, that I heard over an intercom or loudspeaker,” she told NBC New York. “I heard them say a woman with long dark hair and a grey scarf.”
She stated that she was asked for her name and identification.
“I believe they said our recognition picked you up,” Conlon explained.
According to a sign, facial recognition is used as a security measure to ensure the safety of guests and employees. Conlon claims she posed no threat, but the guards still kicked her out, citing the fact that they knew she was an attorney.
“They knew my name before I told them. They were aware of the firm I worked for before I told them. And they told me I couldn’t be there “said Conlon.
Conlon is an associate with the New Jersey-based law firm Davis, Saperstein and Solomon, which has been involved in personal injury litigation against a restaurant venue now owned by MSG Entertainment for many years.
“I don’t practise in New York. I’m not an attorney who works on MSG cases “said Conlon.
Nonetheless, MSG claims she was barred, along with other attorneys at the firm.
“MSG implemented a straightforward policy that prohibits attorneys involved in active litigation against the Company from attending events at our venues until the litigation is resolved. While we recognise that this policy may be disappointing to some, we cannot ignore the fact that litigation creates an inherently negative environment. All impacted attorneys were notified of the policy, including Davis, Saperstein, and Salomon, who was notified twice “MSG Entertainment issued a statement.
“This entire scheme is a pretext for doing collective punishment on adversaries who would dare to sue MSG in their multi-billion dollar network,” said Sam Davis, a partner at the firm where Conlon works.
Other businesses have sued after being blacklisted. Conlon stated that she believed a recent judge’s order in one of those cases made it clear that ticketholders like her “may not be denied entry to any shows.”
According to MSG, “in this particular situation, only the one attorney who chose to attend was denied entry, and the rest of her group — including the Girl Scouts — were all able to attend and enjoy the show.”
“I was just a mom taking my daughter to see a Christmas show,” Conlon explained to the I-Team. “I did wait outside… It was humiliating and humiliating.”
Davis is now upping the ante in court, challenging MSG’s liquor licence with the State Liquor Authority.
“The liquor licence that MSG obtained requires them to admit members of the public, unless there are people who would be disruptive or constitute a security threat,” Davis explained. “Taking a mother, separating her from her daughter and the Girl Scouts she was watching over, and doing so under the guise of protecting any disclosure of litigation information is completely absurd. The fact that they’re using facial recognition to do this is terrifying. This is un-American.”
MSG’s spokesperson reiterated in a statement that safety is their top priority, and that facial recognition is just one of the methods they employ. MSG Entertainment also stated that they are confident that their policy complies with all applicable laws, including the New York State Liquor Authority.