New York Attorney General Letitia James issued a letter to the operators of Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall late last week, asking for a response to reports that they used facial recognition software to forbid lawyers belonging to law firms representing clients engaged in litigation against Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. and its affiliates (together, MSG) from entering its entertainment venues, including season ticket holders.
The correspondence said that approximately 90 law firms and thousands of lawyers are impacted by MSG’s policy.
The use of facial recognition technology to deny entry may violate the New York Civil Rights Law and other city, state, and federal laws prohibiting discrimination against and retaliation for engaging in protected activity, the attorney general cautioned. Forbidding entry to lawyers representing clients engaged in litigation against MSG may dissuade such lawyers from taking on legitimate cases, including sexual harassment or employment discrimination claims, and is illegal, the letter explained.
Action by James’ office follows a series of articles by the New York Times, the latest of which explained that lawyers in impacted firms sued MSG over its use of facial recognition technology, and before that its outright ban of law firm attendees.
Now, James’ office has asked MSG’s general counsel to justify the company’s policy by February 13. The attorney general also wants a description of efforts undertaken to ensure compliance with applicable laws and assurance that MSG’s use of facial recognition technology will not lead to discrimination.
“Discrimination and retaliation against those who have petitioned the government for redress have no place in New York,” the letter concluded.