While there has been a lot of criticism over facial recognition technology, most has centered on state-use – not personal use.
She came to see the Rockettes’ world-famous kick-line — but got kicked out of line instead.
Kelly Conlon, 44, was chaperoning her 9-year-old daughter’s Girl Scout troop to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular last month when she was flagged by the event space’s facial recognition system and refused entry despite holding a ticket.
What landed the New Jersey-based attorney on the naughty no-entry list? Her job.
“They said my firm was on the attorney exclusion list and escorted me out,” Conlon told The Post.
She said she was forced to spend 90 minutes wandering around outside in the rain while her daughter caught the show with the rest of her troop inside.
“I was caught off-guard – I just complied with what they asked me to do and I left my daughter inside the venue with her troops. I had driven multiple people in my car so I couldn’t leave to go home,” Conlon said.
Conlon was caught up in a Big Brother-esque crackdown by Madison Square Garden CEO James Dolan, who has banned anyone who works for any law firm that has a suit against any of his holdings, which includes the Knicks, Rangers, Radio City, MSG and various restaurants.
Conlon’s ticket was scanned outside the venue and the incident, first reported by NBC 4 News, occurred “about 20 seconds” after she walked inside the illustrious Art Deco hall and had cleared the metal detector, she said.
“I heard them say, ‘Woman with long dark hair and gray scarf.’ I kept walking because no one stopped me,” said Conlon, who was then asked to produce ID before being escorted out.
A sign inside Radio City alerts guests that facial recognition utilizing “biometric identifier information” is used as a security measure to ensure safety for guests and staff.
Conlon is an attorney with the New Jersey-based law firm Davis, Saperstein and Salomon, which has been involved in ongoing personal injury litigation against a restaurant owned by MSG Entertainment, the owner of Radio City Music Hall, among other fabled city theaters.
Conlon does not practice law in New York and is not affiliated with any cases against MSG Entertainment. Still, she — and other attorneys at her firm — are apparently banned from the theater.
MSG Entertainment apparently has added pictures of the dozens of employees of her law firm into its database. According to a 2018 New York Times article about the company’s facial recognition technology, it uses an algorithm to compare images taken by a camera to a stored database of photographs.
While presumably meant to block out the likes of terrorists, the Big Brother technology is apparently now being used to settle petty vendettas.
“Shame on them for kicking a Scout chaperone out in front of her daughter and the troop and causing that foreseeable angst and humiliation at Christmas [time],” Sam Davis, a partner at Conlon’s law firm, told The Post.
MSG Entertainment defended its decision to kick out Conlon.
“MSG instituted a straightforward policy that precludes attorneys from firms pursuing active litigation against the Company from attending events at our venues until that litigation has been resolved. While we understand this policy is disappointing to some, we cannot ignore the fact that litigation creates an inherently adversarial environment,” MSG Entertainment said in a statement to The Post.
“All impacted attorneys were notified of the policy, including Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, which was notified twice. In this particular situation, only the one attorney who chose to attend despite being notified in advance that she would be denied entry, was not permitted to enter, and the rest of her group — including the Girl Scouts — were all able to attend and enjoy the show.”
Several other legal firms have been blacklisted from the company’s theaters in recent months.
Nicole Landi, a lawyer at the Manhattan-based personal injury firm, Burns & Harris, was denied entry to Mariah Carey’s recent “Merry Christmas to All Show” at Madison Square Garden, according to a lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court this month.
Five lawyers of Greenberg Law PC claimed an MSG attorney told them on Nov. 28 they were barred from entering MSG-owned venues, the same day they filed a lawsuit on behalf of a man who was sucker-punched after a hockey game at MSG, according to another lawsuit.
A humiliated Conlon, meanwhile, said she has not been refunded for her ticket.
“Of course you don’t want your daughter’s friends and her parents to see something like that — especially since it was kind of a commotion,” said Conlon. “It was not comfortable.”