Chris Rock performed at the London O2 on Saturday with a controversial new policy in place: audience members had to lock their phones in tamper proof pouches administered by Yondr, a U.S. startup founded in 2014 and based in San Francisco. The pouches are self locking. Once the phone is inside, the only way to take it out of the case is to exit the venue and tap the pouch on an 'unlocking base.' Many feel that this is the way of the future. Rock's show is perhaps the highest profile use of the devices yet, and there were mixed feelings.
Some felt that all shows and events should institute this policy:
Looking forward to seeing Chris Rock at The O2 tomorrow night. Also excited about the no phone policy as I’ll actually be able to enjoy a whole show for once 🙌🏾— Ben Anderson (@IAmBenAnderson) January 26, 2018
But others thought the connectivity of the modern world made this idea untenable:
This Chris Rock No Phone policy is ridiculous. What happens in an emergency? If you can’t enjoy the show through your eyes for 2 hours, you have problems. But phones are needed for emergencies.— Anna-Marie (@PinkChampayne) January 27, 2018
So god forbid there is an emergency either personal (at home) or in the arena (shooting, fire etc) and people need to call 911 / contact family members. What happens then? I get what hes trying to do but safety wise considering what’s happened in the past not the best idea— Amber Thompson (@AmberThompson25) January 27, 2018
And one man did, in fact, have an emergency in the middle of a show — which led to him getting kicked out. Chris Penman was at Chris Rock's show at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland, on Friday. At intermission he went out to check his phone because his dad had just undergone a heart transplant. He spoke to an usher, explained the situation, and that usher gave him permission to unlock the pouch. But despite the approval, he was thrown out, because rather than remaining in the designated 'unlocking zone' to wait for the response from his family, he took the unlocked phone back with him into the audience.
Chris told the Scotsman:
I must have only looked at it for about 15 seconds, no-one was on stage and I held it discreetly on my lap, then I was approached by a guard. As they were going through it, the text came in from my brother saying my dad had managed to take his medication and eat without being sick - which is what I was waiting for. My dad is in the heart transplant ward in the Golden Jubilee in a really bad way. I explained the full thing but they still said I had to leave. I couldn’t believe it - I’m still baffled today. It’s just extraordinarily petty and unreasonable. I’m happy that my dad is doing better but I’m angry because my wife paid £140 for the tickets and we didn’t even get to see Chris Rock.
Some people weren't terribly sympathetic:
Respectfully, a call in the unlocking area mayve been faster than a text. Def wouldntve taken my phone in, dont care what the doorman said.— AM (@ambidextext) January 27, 2018
Exactly. You can text there too. I saw Chris Rock a few months ago. I just had my phone on vibrate and if the bag vibrated I went to the lobby if I wanted to.— Travis Turner (@TravisTurnerTO) January 27, 2018
He should still respect the integrity of the artists’ show. That is what is boils down to. I have heard this has happend at past shows and if you don’t like it, don’t spend your money.— chelle (@chelleatlarge) January 28, 2018
Respectfully, if a family member is so in need of monitoring that you can't put it away for 2 hours maybe you shouldn't go somewhere you can't have your phone.— Msty_Wtrs (@Misty_Wtrs) January 27, 2018
But other folks felt for him:
THAT'S my problem with this no phone rule. I mean, first of all, and I NEVER refer to the year to make a point, but if people having phones bothers you so much then maybe don't perform in the twenty-first century. Second of all, you kicked out a man for checking on his sick dad? pic.twitter.com/ZinQJgHgak— Samantha (@Samanthaestchic) January 28, 2018
The situation was time-sensitive and he was told he could check his phone instead. Would you wait to check your phone if you got a text about your sick family member?— Samantha (@Samanthaestchic) January 28, 2018
And this guru stepped in to tell us what we all know to be true:
Enjoy what you are doing, enjoy the moment and don't worry about that small dopamine hit telling people what you are doing.— GC (@GregColl1ns) January 27, 2018