Man says he was banned from the Vegas Sphere for taking a bong rip

Douglas/Adobe Stock @acid_farts/Instagram (Licensed)

Vegas Sphere says it did not ban man who posted bong hit during Phish show to Instagram

‘In light of your conduct, you are hereby indefinitely banned,’ the letter read.


Mikael Thalen


A concertgoer claimed he was banned from venues across the country after smoking out of a bong during a recent show at the Sphere in Las Vegas.

However, the venue operator said the ban was sent in error.

In April, footage began circulating on social media of a man at a Phish concert taking what is claimed to be “the first ever bong rip” in the new arena.

The video was met with laughter and questions from those who wondered how the concertgoer was able to bring a glass bong into the venue.

Many also predicted that the man would soon be banned, citing the use of facial recognition cameras at the Sphere. Madison Square Garden Entertainment, which owns the Sphere and numerous other high-profile venues, has faced criticism for its deployment of such technology.

On Thursday, a Phish fan account on X known as @PhishatMSG, shared what appeared to be a screenshot of an Instagram story from the alleged bong smoker. The screenshot shows an alleged letter from Madison Square Garden Entertainment, dated June 3, issuing the ban.

“The sphere sent me a plaque to commemorate what is now officially the first bong hit ever taken in the sphere,” a caption on the story says.

The letter, said to be sent by Christopher Schimpf, associate general counsel for Madison Square Garden Entertainment, specifically cites the Instagram video while issuing the ban.

“On April 20, 2024, you posted an Instagram video of yourself smoking inside the Sphere with the caption ‘First bong hit to ever be ripped in the @spherevegas @phish,’” the letter begins. “You knowingly violated the guest code of conduct by visibly smoking inside the venue. Sphere Entertainment Co. will not tolerate actions that threaten the safety and security of our guests, and employees.”

The concertgoer is then allegedly informed that he is banned not only from the Sphere but from the company’s other locations, including “Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, The Beacon Theatre, The Chicago Theatre” and “any other MSG Venue.”

“If you enter any of the MSG Venues, including, with respect to Madison Square Garden, the box office, Chase Square and the concierge areas, law enforcement will be contacted to ensure your expulsion and you will be subject to the penalties,” the letter says in closing.

The Daily Dot reached out to @PhishatMSG to inquire about the Instagram story highlighting the letter but did not receive a reply.

After reports of the letter began circulation, the Sphere said in a statement to the Daily Dot that the man was not banned.

“There was a breakdown in our process due to a change in personnel which resulted in the letter being sent inadvertently,” the Sphere said. “This customer is not banned from our properties, however, it is still against our policies, which are in accordance with local laws, to smoke, bring glassware into our venues, and disrupt other fans’ enjoyment of the event.”

This post has been updated with comment from the Sphere.

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