MSG’s James Dolan Defends Using Facial Recognition to Boot Lawyers From Arenas: ‘If You’re Being Sued, It’s a Personal Thing’

The firebrand billionaire’s ire was on full display in a Fox 5 interview as he lambasted politicians and a NY state agency

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James Dolan, the billionaire owner of the New York Knicks and CEO of Madison Square Garden and MSG Entertainment, fiercely pushed back at people criticizing him as being vindictive for leveraging facial recognition tech to bar lawyers who’ve sued his companies from MSG venues.

Dolan pulled no punches during an interview aired on Fox 5 in New York City.

“People say, ‘You’re so sensitive, you shouldn’t defend yourself,’ Dolan said. ‘It’s like something out of ‘The Godfather’ — like, ‘It’s only business” before adding that  “the Garden has to defend itself.”

When prodded about the State Liquor Authority’s “alleged threat to halt liquor sales at his venues,” Dolan went on the offensive, saying he would “pick a night and shut down liquor in the building” while also plastering signs all over that say “If you would like to drink at a game, call [SLA chief Sharif Kabir].”

Facial recognition technology, deployed at MSG venues such as Radio City Music Hall, has been controversially used to identify and ban lawyers involved in lawsuits against MSG Entertainment, including a mom who was on a Girl Scout trip with her daughter to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. The policy has led to lawsuits and proposed legislation by New York state politicians seeking to block Dolan’s companies from using the technology.  

Dolan switched subjects when asked about it by FOX 5, dismissing “politicians (that) are just jumping on the bandwagon. They like the press. Where are they, for instance, on bail reform?” he said.

“Why aren’t [they] doing something about the quality of life in New York?”