Executive Chairman and CEO, James Dolan, Appeared Live on Good Day New York to Outline Company’s Position
New York, NY, January 26, 2023 – Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. (“MSG Entertainment”) today clearly stated its position on its adverse attorney policy and attempts by self-serving politicians to use this issue as a publicity and fundraising platform, instead of addressing issues that impact all New Yorkers such as crime and the economy.
James Dolan, MSG Entertainment’s Executive Chairman and CEO, appeared live today on WNYW’s Good Day New York, where anchor Rosanna Scotto interviewed him on the Company’s policy and the actions of elected officials.
“The real issue is our policy of not letting attorneys who are suing us into our building until the litigation is done. When it’s done, they’re very much welcome back,” said Mr. Dolan. “This is not discriminatory and we will not back down – The Garden has to defend itself – our values are important to us.”
“We urge our elected representatives to focus on causes that improve the quality of life for their constituents – such as addressing rampant crime and homelessness in the city, rather than taking up the cause of a small percentage of attorneys so they can attend Knicks and Rangers games. These elected officials are exploiting this issue for their own publicity and fundraising platform – going as far as to solicit donations.”
Mr. Dolan continued, “The New York State Liquor Authority, for example, is way over its skis and being extremely aggressive, threatening to take away our liquor license. They’re doing this for publicity so we’re going to give them some publicity. In response to their threats, we could pick a night, and shut down all the alcohol in the building. We know our fans would be disappointed, but it’s important that we call attention to the SLA’s misguided threats to pull our liquor licenses under false pretense and with zero jurisdiction on this issue. If you don’t like the sound of this, we encourage you to contact Sharif Kabir, the SLA’s Chief Executive Officer, at [email protected] or (518) 474-3114, and press 3’ and tell them to stick to what they’re supposed to be doing and stop grandstanding to try to get press.”
The below points reiterate MSG Entertainment’s position regarding these issues, and its response to misguided calls by elected officials to amend and introduce legislation:
Our Policy and Our Rights:
- Attorneys who have filed a lawsuit against MSG Entertainment are not welcome in our venues while litigation is ongoing. When the litigation is resolved, they will be welcomed back.
- This includes attorneys representing ticket scalpers, personal injury claims and class action litigations, but does not include claims related to sexual harassment or employment discrimination.
- MSG Entertainment is a private business, and in full compliance with all applicable laws – it is also within our right to implement and to enforce this policy, which is specific to lawyers pursuing active litigation against the Company.
Who These Attorneys Really Are:
- The attorneys we are prohibiting from attending include ambulance chasers and money grabbers whose business is motivated by self-promotion and who capitalize on the misfortune of others.
- These are attorneys that are defending the ticket scalpers who make getting tickets for the average game and concert-goer next to impossible and exorbitantly expensive.
Our Policy and Facial Recognition:
- We have effectively used facial recognition since 2018 as one of our tools to provide a safe and secure environment for our customers and ourselves.
- In addition, we use it as a tool to keep adverse attorneys out of our venues.
We Are Unequivocally Open to the Public:
- Our venues are absolutely and unequivocally open to the public – we host more than five million people a year and temporarily preventing access to a small percentage of attorneys who are involved in active litigation against MSG doesn’t change that.
- This policy does not unlawfully prohibit anyone from entering MSG Entertainment’s venues and it is not our intent to dissuade attorneys from representing plaintiffs in litigation against the Company. This is not an attack on lawyers. We are merely excluding a small percentage of lawyers and only during active litigation.
Elected Officials and Their Real Agendas:
- No matter where you stand on the policy, everyone can agree it shouldn’t be this high on our elected officials’ agenda.
- We urge our elected representatives to focus on causes that improve the quality of life for their constituents – such as addressing rampant crime and homelessness in the city, instead of choosing to attack the economic engine, job creator and community beacon that is MSG.
- Some elected officials are using this as a publicity and fundraising platform, when they should be focusing attention and resources on pressing issues facing New Yorkers – homelessness, the economy, and crime to name a few. One of our electeds is already exploiting his press coverage in solicitation emails.
- Attorney General Letitia James has every right to ask questions, but to suggest anyone is being excluded based on the protected classes identified in state and federal civil rights laws is ludicrous. Our policy has never applied to attorneys representing plaintiffs who allege sexual harassment or employment discrimination.
Our Commitment to New York City:
- MSG Entertainment is invested in the success of New York City and in the fan experience – and we work hard to create a welcoming atmosphere – focused on warmth, enjoyment and safety for everyone. And we’re proud that MSG is the safest venue in the country.
- For over 140 years we have been proud to be a center of New York cultural life – millions of people have attended once-in-a-lifetime events at our venues, and continue to do so in record numbers.
Our Continued Cooperation With State Agencies:
- We’ve been extremely cooperative and forthcoming with all state agencies – even those that don’t have any oversight or authority to take a position on this matter – they have every right to ask questions but we also expect that they give us the opportunity to explain our position.