Kevin Hart isn’t fucking around when it comes to his phone ban, and quite a few people who attended (or at least tried to attend) his show in Manchester in the UK this week were unhappy with his strict policy.
Like many comedians Hart has become frustrated with the overuse of cell phones during shows. While some comedians have opted for the “lock sock” to prevent people from using their phones during shows, team Hart chose instead to employ a phone ban rule at his show. Phone holders were warned that this was a zero tolerance policy, and one that was strenuously enforced. A cell phone security team roamed the arena. Violators were removed from the show, with no refunds given. And that included people who were sending texts, even if those texts were being sent before Hart even took the stage.
The Telegraph reported that showgoers were pretty upset at what they perceived to be “overinforcement” of the policy. Some of the unhappy ejectees included three members of a group of six friends who were removed from the arena after being observed sending texts to babysitters prior to the show beginning. One of those friends wrote to Hart on Facebook complaining, calling the incident “an absolute discrace.” He relayed that before the show had even started three of the six were thrown out, and he indicated that security was less than diplomatic about it. “Two of the 3 were ladies, left on the street alone in an unfamiliar city, with no idea of what to do next,” he wrote. His posted indicated that hundreds of “hard working, decent people who worked hard to buy tickets” were tossed out. “Now, i understand that on the ticket, it clearly said “no phones or recording”, but a text message?? Come on.” He complained about being mistreated by Manchester Arena personnel after he registered his complaint, saying he was pushed, and told to stop moaning. “I know Kevin himself has no control of what happens in the stands, but my friend, you have to be the guy where the buck stops.” He challenged Hart to prove that he loves all his fans.
Another fan described being escorted out of the building by several members of staff for sending a five word text to her mum. “Kevin Hart his security team should be ashamed of themselves!!!” she posted on Facebook. She also complained about safety saying a “MALE” came to ask her to come with him and specified that her boyfriend should stay in the theater. “Can’t even describe how angry and upset I am completely ruined my night bought a new outfit, paid for a hotel to stay overnight and our tickets were £100, yet I didn’t even get to see 30 seconds of Kevin Hart on stage because I sent my Mum a 5 word text.”
On Instagram, another fan talked about being thrown out, by an intimidating crew of five security agents. He said his phone use was accidental. “Made a right cunt of in London 02 last night. Went to sit down and had my phone in my back pocket so got it out and put it in my front pocket. Must of pressed the home button as I done it as the light come on and I got kicked out. Before the supporting acts had started. 5 blokes surrounded me trying to intimidate me and literally marched me out to the front doors of the 02 like I was a fucking criminal. What a fucking waste of time and money. Seen you before and was coming back to see you again but never again, well and truly fucked off. Get fucked.”
Another Instagram commentor wrote, “such a performer in touch with his fans, a real gent huh? Classic money obsessed celebrity. Its just a phone Kev, chill out. Jesus christ!” A third commentor wrote, “What a con. Kevin Hart wasn’t even on yet and got kicked out for checking a important text. Security shit. Little idiots thinking they have power.”
Others wrote that there were plenty of warnings that any phone use would result in ejection from the arena, and didn’t seem bothered at all by the policy.
The Arena noted that the policy was Kevin Hart’s policy, not a venue rule, and noted that the security team was supplied by Hart as well. Hart posted a photo from the show but didn’t address the complaints.