Countering McDonald's Denial, Cyborg Posts New Photo of Alleged Assault

It's just another one of those "Cyborg said, McDonald's said" disagreements. After Human Cyborg Steve Mann published a blog post on Monday saying he was assaulted by employees at a Paris McDonald's earlier this month, the fast food chain struck back on Wednesday, saying its own investigation had determined that staffers did ask him to leave but that their "interaction with Dr. Mann was polite and did not involve a physical altercation." However, after we wrote Mann and asked for his reaction, he sent us a previously-unpublished photo that appears to show a McDonald's employee grabbing his glasses.

The shot above comes directly from Mann's EyeTap Glass headset, which he was wearing when a McDonald's employee he calls "Perpetrator 1" allegedly tried to rip it off his face. The employee and his coworkers were apparently trying to enforce that particular restaurants' strict no-photo policy and were concerned that Mann's headset was shooting pictures or video. According to Mann, the EyeTap Glass does indeed capture images of everything the wearer sees in real-time, but does not permanently store them by default. However, when the device was damaged, it retained images from the incident, including this one. 

We're not forensic photography experts, but this new image certainly makes it look like the McDonald's staffer in question has, at the very least, made physical contact with Dr. Mann's glasses. Since we don't have video, we have no way to determine from the photo alone whether he brushed up against the glasses accidentally or was actively trying to pull them off of the professor's head. In addition to this grabbing photo, Mann directed our attention to a different picture he had posted where another McDonald's employee appears to be tearing up a piece of paper, which he says is the doctor's note he showed them to explain why he needs to wear this non-removable headset.

"Judge for yourself," he told us. "Plus they can't deny tearing up the letter from my doctor, so that also would seem to suggest ill intent, e.g. that in itself is also willful damage to customer's property."

As of 1 a.m. ET, the new photo of the employee allegedly grabbing the glasses had also been added to Mann's original blog post.

Avram Piltch
Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master's degree in English from NYU.