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Kentucky Derby Bans Selfie Sticks

Joining a growing group of venues, Churchill Downs, the host track for next month’s Kentucky Derby, announced last week that it will prohibit attendees from using selfie sticks while at the venue. In addition to selfie sticks, Churchill Downs also said last week that its customers will not be allowed to bring drones into the venue to record the race. Customers will have to dispose of selfie sticks or drones before they enter the grounds or return the items to their cars before entering.

“The list of items that cannot be carried into the track by guests on Kentucky Oaks and Derby days was expanded to include selfie sticks and remote-controlled aircraft, including drones,” said Churchill Downs spokesperson Darren Rogers, in a statement. “The addition of selfie sticks and remote-controlled aircraft to the roster of prohibited items also grew out of an increase in the popularity of drones and concern for the safety of Derby and Oaks Day patrons, the horses competing in races those days, and participating horsemen and members of their respective staffs.”

Other museums, theme parks, and sporting events have also taken steps recently to ban customers from using selfie sticks while on their grounds. As a security measure, park employees at Walt Disney World have been instructed to ask guests to put selfie sticks away before getting on any ride or attraction. The item, which has become very popular as a consumer electronic accessory and promotional product, is facing similar fates at museums such as The Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and Washington’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. And, outdoor concert events including Coachella and Chicago’s Lollapalooza have banned the picture-taking devices from being used by attendees.

“I am pro-selfie, just not pro-selfie stick,” said Sree Sreenivasan, chief digital officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is also considering a ban of the items. “I'm worried about visitor safety and protecting our art. So, we are working with visitor services and security to consider all our options.”