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New York Knicks and Rangers owner James Dolan is being accused of using facial-recognition technology to target critics. A new report says that Dolan, who also owns Madison Square Garden, of using the technology to bully and intimidate fans that may be attending games.
The Garden has turned into a surveillance state like China would have.
The stunning revelation comes just a few weeks after a woman was escorted out of Radio City Music Hall after being flagged via the venue’s facial technology. Dolan also owns the Radio City property. The mother, who was attending the show as part of a Girl Scout field trip, was approached and removed by security because the law firm she works at is on an attorney exclusion list. The facial-recognition technology captured her with the Girl Scout group, and alerted authorities who then approached her.
CELEBRITIES ARE ALSO REPORTEDLY TARGETED
When news of Dolan’s all-seeing policy came to light, people came forward to share alleged stories of the Knicks owner utilizing the tech at the Garden as well.
According to NBA journalist Ethan Strauss, who used to work for ESPN and The Athletic, multiple sources have allegedly claimed that not only does Dolan use the visual technology to keep an eye on the fans, but that some are routinely approached by security.
The reported reason why? Because they were critical of Dolan and his handling of both sports franchises. (The Knicks haven’t won an NBA title since 1973, while the Rangers last won a Stanley Cup in 1994).
Essentially the thin-skinned Dolan, who everyone in New York City knows has quite the temper, can’t can’t take the heat. So his way of handling criticism is to unleash his henchmen on them.
HARASSMENT STARTED AS SOON AS FANS WALK INTO THE BUILDING
Fans speaking with Strauss detailed the harassment that they received from Dolan through his underlings.
One Knicks fan named Brett Klein, says that he has regularly been stopped by MSG security whenever he enters the arena since writing “Sell the team,” on a Facebook page dedicated to Dolan’s band “JD & The Straight Shot.” (I’m a huge music fan and have toured for years. Dolan’s band STINKS and is God awful. Welp, guess I just got flagged the next time I go to the Garden).
DOLAN ALLEGEDLY HARASSES FANS IF THEY CRITICIZE HIM
Strauss also described a multi-tiered penalty system that is used to classify fans in attendance, according to sources. . The range goes from a “Level 0” designation meaning that a fan can’t attend certain events, to a “Level 5” classification that permanently bans the spectator. Former actor and comedian Michael Rapaport allegedly has a Level 5 one, while Dolan gave director Spike Lee – a lifelong Knicks fan who has had season tickets for decades, either a Level 2 or Level 3 rating.
This means that every time Spike steps into the Garden, he is allegedly being monitored by the Garden’s facial technology.
DOLAN’S POLICIES ARE REMINISCENT OF A POLICE STATE
Fans speaking to Ethan Strauss, formerly of ESPN and The Athletic, claim to have been harassed by security after criticizing the 67-year-old sports mogul and son of HBO and Cablevision founder, Charles Dolan. Furthermore, Strauss reports to have spoken to sources claiming the existence of a six-tiered penalty system used to classify critical fans, including celebrities such as director Spike Lee and actor Michael Rapaport.
Am I shocked that Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden use facial-recognition technology? Not really. Obviously I know they have a ton of cameras monitoring everything, but the use of AI like that makes me wonder where else it’s being utilized – and what exactly these “Databases” that are flagging people actually says.
Regardless, the fact that it’s Dolan comes as no surprise either.
This is the same owner who just last year banned a fan for wearing a “Ban Dolan” Knicks shirt.
MSG spokespeople have issued a statement refuting Strauss’ reporting saying that it “is written by an unqualified blogger with multiple inaccuracies and incorrect facts.” They do admit to using the facial-recognition technology but say that there are signs that notify attendees.