Yesterday evening, the sidewalk outside U.S. Bank Stadium was packed with fans ready to shower their devotions on Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
Chicago Avenue was blocked off for the night, leaving plenty of room for fierce poses and selfies with homemade “Lemonade” stands. Photographer Darin Kamnetz was there taking portraits of Queen Bey’s reveling subjects.
That’s where he ran into Star Tribune photographer Aaron Lavinsky, who offered a warning. Lavinsky told him a security guard had just kicked him off a public sidewalk, claiming he was shooting on “private property.”
Which, frankly, was weird.
Kamnetz has never had a problem photographing events in Minneapolis. Besides, U.S. Bank was built with hundreds of millions of dollars in public welfare, with the promise that it was to be “The People’s Stadium.”
“The idea that they can single out a journalist and remove them is ridiculous,” Lavinsky tweeted.
Just got kicked off the sidewalk outside of US Bank Stadium, a public thoroughfare, while shooting portraits of Beyoncé fans. Worth noting that the billion dollar facility included $350 of tax payer dollars. Idea they can single out a journalist and remove them is ridiculous.— Aaron Lavinsky (@ADLavinsky) August 9, 2018
He declined to comment further. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority didn't respond immediately to interview requests.
The encounter put Kamnetz on guard. Later, security found him taking a few shots and asked him if he was a member of the press. On any other night, he would have said yes. But on this night? “No,” he answered.
The guard left him alone, and he was free to do his job. Soon after his initial tweet, Lavinsky reported that U.S. Stadium had reached out to apologize.
"Last night’s concert had a strict no camera, no video policy for media surrounding the event operations," stadium spokesperson Lisa Niess says. The apology was for not communicating with Lavinsky in a "customer-focused way," not for the banishment.
“I don’t see this being a problem going forward,” Kamnetz says.
If anything, he says, it’s a PR problem for the stadium. If the People’s Stadium wouldn’t deign to let journalists take photos on public land, whose park is it really?