James Dolan, who recently re-emerged in the media to fight a PR battle over his use of Facial Recognition Technology, has been consulting Donald Trump’s former communications director Hope Hicks, The Daily News has learned.
Hicks was one of Trump’s longest-serving political aides when she resigned from her White House position in 2018. She returned as an influential Trump whisperer before leaving the Administration for the last time after a failed re-election attempt.
“We work with a variety of consultants across the company,” a MSG spokesperson emailed when asked to comment about Hicks.
Dolan was public in his support of Trump, donating hundreds of thousands to his campaigns while telling ESPN, “I’ve known him for a long time. I got married at Mar-a-Lago. I’m a member of Mar-a-Lago, and I support him as a friend.” It was a view contrary to many inside the NBA, with the Golden State Warriors either boycotting or being “uninvited” from the White House after their championships during Trump’s presidency.
Dolan hadn’t done an extensive interview in almost four years before appearing on FOX5 NY and WFAN last week. The longtime Knicks owner has been facing media and political heat for ejecting adversaries from his venues by identifying them with Facial Recognition Technology, specifically attorneys from law firms involved in litigation against MSG. According to reports, Dolan also uses the technology to identify and confront critics.
One fan, Brett Klein, told Substack reporter Ethan Strauss that he has been approached and warned by MSG security multiple times without provocation. Klein believes he was targeted for commenting “Sell the team” on the Facebook page of Dolan’s blues band, according to the report.
In 2019, another fan was ejected from MSG after telling Dolan, “Sell the team,” at a Knicks game. The exchange was captured on video.
“The guys up in the stands [in the upper decks], we don’t even know if we’re going to hear him. Even if we do, so what,” Dolan told WFAN. “But the guy who comes down, works his way down to the floor, and as I’m leaving starts confronting me, that guy’s going to go. He’s there to pick a fight.”
Dolan’s use of Facial Recognition Technology, specifically to target lawyers, drew the attention of New York lawmakers. It prompted a threat to ban alcohol from MSG, which became Dolan’s headlining interview topic as he attacked State Liquor Authority executive Sharif Kabir and state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal.
Hicks, 34, who grew up in Greenwich, CT, was one of the first people to join Trump’s 2016 election campaign and was labeled by Forbes as “Trump’s right-hand woman.” More recently, she testified to the Jan. 6 House committee about her attempts to dissuade Trump from claiming election fraud. According to a text message released by the House committee, Hicks was worried about the Jan. 6 insurrection ruining her employability.
“In one day he ended every future opportunity that doesn’t include speaking engagements at the local proud boys chapter,” Hicks wrote to Julie Radford, the former chief of staff to Ivanka Trump.
“We all look like domestic terrorists now,” Hicks added.
Turns out, Hicks was wrong. She can still find a billionaire to consult at MSG.