In 2018, the age of cell phone videos, selfies, and live streams during shows, some performers are pretty particular about cell phones coming out at their shows.
Comedians such as Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle even have policies where fans will lock their cell phones in pouches during the show. But if you’re going to a Kevin Hart show, he takes this policy to the next level.
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Instead of pouches, he has an entire security force that specifically seeks out anyone they even think is using a cell phone. Fans who went to Hart’s show in London last month got see his goon squad first hand.
Cell phones security in the O2, Kevin Hart is not about to let any footage slip online pic.twitter.com/KFDKcuI6Kl
— Lorenzo (@lorenzoofficial) September 1, 2018
When the tour rolled into Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena on Monday night, fans were well aware of the policy, but many are saying that his security guards went overboard in enforcing it.
Michael Helton-Geers and Jesse Hutchinson said that a security guard rolled up on them during one of the opening acts and told them that they had to leave because they were on cell phones. Both men said they knew that cell phones weren’t allowed and made sure to keep them in their pockets.
Hutchinson said the guards even threatened to have them arrested.
“Honestly I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life,” Geers said to the Detroit Free Press. “They kept threatening us that we were going to go to jail, and making us feel like we had just robbed a bank, and we had legitimately done nothing.”
The men left after the guards demanded their driver’s licenses. It was a similar situation for Paul Wisner who, along with his wife Nicole, who made the trip up from Toledo, Ohio for the show.
“We both didn’t have our phones on our person, the show had gone on for about 10 minutes,” Wisner said. “The hype man was out there, they made a reference about how they kicked out 200 people in Cleveland the night prior, so don’t be on your phone.”
Wisner said his wife asked him to hand her a for her pink purse and she pulled out her Chapstick. They were soon confronted by a security guard who claimed they were on a cell phone.
“I saw a security guard waving a glow stick around in the air like a helicopter,” Wisner said. “Security comes up screaming behind us, like, we gotta go, we gotta go. So, I turned around like, ‘Us? What do you mean?’
“They assumed (the purse) was a cell phone,” he added. “I said look sir, ‘You can search me.’ He said, ‘I don’t care…our people aren’t gonna make mistakes.”
After admittedly getting “combative” with security, Wisner said two Detroit Police officers came down to escort him and his wife out.
“We were out the money for the tickets, money for parking, money for the food that we had left at our seats…,” he said. “We were out of there before the show even really started.”
Olympia Entertainment, which runs Little Caesars Arena, said in a statement that they “are committed to positive interactions between our staff and our guests.”
They also noted that the policy was put out to the public well in advance. Representatives for Kevin Hart could not be reached for comment, but Hart has made light of the police in the past including in a 2016 video.