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

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Steve Mann's Alleged Assailant Appears to Grab His Glasses

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 However, after we wrote Mann and asked for his reaction, he sent us a previously-unpublished photo that appears to show a McDonald's employee grabbing his glasses.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."

McDonald's Employee Allegedly Tearing Up Steve Mann's Doctor's Note

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.

Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP 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.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
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  • Concerned Citizen Says:

    What a bunch of hateful monsters. They are completely replaceable and should all be fired from their simple button pushing jobs. They should be arrested for physical battery and damage to property not to mention the damage to his body as this device is bolted into his skull. That would be like someone trying rip out an eye. They need to be made an example of and do hard time up the river for 5 years for physical battery. Then sued so that they have to pay for all damages with hard labor. Throw the book at them. You cannot touch anyone anymore. That is considered harassment and battery.

  • J Melbourne Says:

    Assaulting an unarmed tourist in your country? SHAMEFUL! In the great State of Texas Assault can and will be met with deadly force.

    I'll wear my Google-Glasses in McDonalds in Texas along with my Ruger P95 and let ANY man who is not an Officer of the Law try to remove them.

    I'll also wear my pin-hole button camera that feeds wirelessly into my phone. So even if they 'make me' remove my glasses I'll still have a recording.

  • Ed Says:

    When you use the name Cyborg you should caption it with the guy's real name since Cyborg alone is more commonly associated with the female MMA fighter and not this guy.

  • jo Says:

    Seems like the new photo released that shows the employee grabbing the glasses, is in direct dispute to the claim that the glasses do not save photos. Both sides are lying. We don't know the circumstances. Maybe the guy was trying to start something to get some outlandish photos that he could then use to sue a large mega corp? Success, but the emplyees were correct to be concerned.

  • ballsdeep Says:

    haha solom1 cant even respond because he realizes how his words come off now.

  • contraryjim Says:

    If it's french that's a different story. McD corp has had a difficult relationship with the french as has most everyone not french.
    who knows what evil lurks in ....

  • SandyW Says:

    In my opinion: the employees were wrong to assault or touch him in any way. However, the cyber man is not very intelligent if he eats as McDonald's because the food assaults people every time they eat there. If he has health problems, what is he doing at the place where the food eventually kills him? He gets assaulted each time he eats there--assaulted to an eventually unhealthy death. Watch "Super Size Me." Read "Fast Food Nation" and many other books on the fast/processed food industry.
    The man should complain that he was being junk-fooded to death, but then McDonald's has the defense that he came in and bought the food.
    In my opinion, only people with some kind of subconscious death wish would eat at that restaurant and others like it.

  • Frogmore Says:

    Just because someone is wearing a strange headset or even is taking pictures inside of an establishment without the permission of other people does not give the employees of that establishment the right to lay a hand on that person.

    What it does give the employees of that establishment the right to do is call the authorities which is what these employees should have done rather than taking matters into their own hands.

    Having seen these pictures, I'm with the plaintiff on this one now.

  • Michael Says:

    Ha! Of course his camera doesn't save pictures like the ones he has and is posting to support his claims. Now he says it saves pictures when its "damaged." Well it seems to be snapping photos at different times like a good damaged camera should. Like at a hand raised (serious damage there - which is why you claim your camera is taking pictures) and later when the other employee is ripping up the paper. "Professor" your screenshots support the reason why the employees were concerned, but you denied. People don't take kindly to be photographed and recorded.

  • mike Says:


  • Blessedone333 Says:

    it's FRANCE for God sake - they are a poop hole waiting for the muslim take over!!!

    PLUS these bastards are running film on every customer that comes in the place - no reason not to have it go both ways unless you have something to hide MIKEYD'S

    enjoy your 70% taxation you socialist idiots

  • me Says:

    "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. "

    Really it don't matter being both of them 2 situations are legally defined as assault. even touching some on is assault if they did not give some ones consent to touch them. for any reason. Its why its illegal even for a security guard to even physically grab or restrain any one trying to shop lift form a store.

    all they can legaly do if a person resists is call the police of take down the license plate.

  • Zorro Says:

    Nut cases abound. This guy wanted publicity and he seems to have gotten it.

  • Kitten Says:

    Well the employees obviously lied now that the pics have come out...and for John asking about uniforms...the McDonalds M on the guy's shirt shows it is a uniform. the other one grabbing at him is obviously a manager...same type of dress as the ones here. Shame on McDonalds employees for doing this and then lying.about it

  • John Says:

    Sorry guys but look at the photo again. Does it look like it was an altercation or that guy was touching the glasses without permission? It looks more like curiosity and Mann had given them permission to check it out. As to earlier comments about these alleged perp's being employees and their uniforms, I agree...what uniforms are those two in the pics wearing? Mann's story doesn't hold up to even the slighted scrutiny.

  • DustinCH Says:

    @Solom01 Well considering the fact that the guy has the thing ATTACHED TO HIS SKULL then I don't then either him or you would have had much choice in the matter.

  • kerryd Says:

    I think this Steve Mann is full of crap.
    "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."

    How convenient that apparently it does "permanently" store them, and seemingly BEFORE they were allegedly damaged (otherwise how did he just happen to have the picture of the employees allegedly ripping up the "letter from his doctor" which supposedly happened before the alleged assault and therefore before the glasses were damaged ?). So he's full of shit as far as the storage capability of his glasses. And to try and tell us that they only store images permanently if the device is damaged ? Load of crap.
    And from looking at an even earlier story about this incident, it seems his "glasses" stored a whole bunch of images prior to being damaged.

    And looking at the picture of him on the other news story, big shit-eating grin on his face smacks of someone desperately seeking attention.

    Oh yeah - let me see. He goes to a McDonalds, get (allegedly) assaulted by the employees, gets knocked down, soils his pants (according to his story), and then goes to the police who decide they can't be bothered dealing with a (allegedly) violent assault. Even in France that seems a little odd.
    Then he goes to "the Consulate/Embassies (no luck), and then the legal experts and human rights commissioners (no luck)". "Consulates/Embassies" ? Whose ? Far as I know, Canada doesn't have Consulates and Embassies in the same city. It's one or the other (and would be an Embassy in Paris).

    Gotta laugh at those McDonalds employees. The cool dude with the sunglasses on his head, and the other guy that looks like a thug (with the little broom).

    But hey, that was in France and he is Canadian. Perhaps he tried to speak to them in "French Canadian" and they got upset over how their language was being butchered.

    Or maybe this guy is full of crap. I know where I'd be putting my money on if I were to bet on this.

  • Loic L Says:

    I hope he sues them, I hate that McDonalds and the staff there from personal experience. They are a band of pricks! But what can you expect from the Champs Elysees McDonalds..

  • Dee Says:

    Is it just me or did anyone else notice that the two guys in the pictures accused of wrongdoing (touching the glasses & tearing the doctor's note) are the only ones who don't have the McDonald's logo on their shirts? Perp three does but he's not pictured doing anything. Also - none of them are behind the counter, they are in front of it - like cutomers. Perp 2 is sitting in both pictures too so how aggressive could he be?

  • Roberto G. Says:

    From what I learned from several Wiki pages, Dr. Mann is not visually impaired or handicapped: he's just a genial lunatic and it's perfectly normal that someone can dislike his crazy gear, that is just a recording device. The images he takes are then sent to his blog in real time. It's everybody's right not to be taped and McDonalds had all the rights to try to stop his visual recording.

  • Jon B Says:

    I'd be very curious to know what Mickey Dee's policy is on smartphones.

    On the matter at hand, very poor in-store restaurant management and corporate PR. Stupid, stupid, stupid and stupid. In reference to a prior post, I seriously doubt there is a conspicuously posted policy about cameras or taking pictures, but I was not there. Yanno - all those 'touristy' folks have cameras, and Mickey Dee LOVES them 'touristy places'.

    just my mostly valueless thoughts on the swelling tide.

  • Jacon Dall Says:

    Okay I'm back to Freedom Fries.
    This is wrong and these aggressive toads need to lose their amazing jobs. Le Royal with cheese can kiss my a*s.

  • ullrich fischer Says:

    Right, Craig. Privacy is already largely an illusion. For $40 you can already get a credible looking ballpoint pen which you can stick in a shirt pocket and take video and audio recordings onto a USB stick in the body of the pen of everything your shirt pocket sees. Now that USB memory sticks are up to 64GB or more capacity, you can pretty much record everything already without anyone being the wiser. The only recourse going forward will be to prosecute anyone who can be shown to have taken videos in situations where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.

  • Mark Craig Says:

    Steve Mann is a strange duck but some of the discussion here misses the point. For whatever reason our paths have crossed in Europe a few times and I've followed him around for hours - less curious about him than the reaction of those around him. Since the days of much more cumbersome equipment, people seem to have very visceral reactions to what he is doing.

    But the bigger point Mann makes (unintentionally I assume) is that we're increasingly becoming a society where everything is recorded - just ask some of the former Arab dictators how they feel about YouTube. But where we are now is only the beginning, and the device that is now screwed into Mann's head, like the Google Glass project will soon get to the point where it will simply disappear from view. It's already easily possible to record someone without them knowing it, but it still takes work to conceal a device and too much effort to do it on a daily basis. But once the recording devices shrink down to the size where they are simply part of a regular pair of glasses or a button on a shirt exactly how does a MacDonald's - or anyone's - prohibition against recording have any significance? Are businesses going to check people at the door? Run them through recording device detectors?

    In the end, I suspect a prohibition against recording devices will seem quaint and even comical - kind of like having to wear bloomers at the beach in the 19th century. Now what we do in situations like locker rooms, children's areas and elsewhere I simply have no idea. The possibility of universal recording of every instant will be a reality in a decade - Mann is just slightly ahead of his time and on a trajectory where we all are going. Like I said, I love watching people watch (and interact) with him - I feel like a door to the future is ever so slightly ajar.

  • Dave Says:

    "at which point he is trespassing and can be physically removed."

    Do you seriously buy into that?

    When you want to eject someone from a place, even using force, there is absolutely no need to remove the special glasses first. And there is no need to destroy a paper. How could someone could really believe that?

    For destroying paper and destroying glasses in conspiration (two people helping each other are committing those illegal facts), the police could have kept those people 48h for the sole purpose of interrogation and establishing the truth. That is even the "normal rate" in France. And after that, a judge should decide of the real sentence.

    Furthermore, in France there is no law to cover someone assaulting another people when only a suspicion of filming for a reason.

    And if courageous customers (simple citizens, no qualification needed) were at the place, they had all legal rights to arrest those two people destroying private property, and to take them to the police (using all necessary force).

  • jasonhador Says:

    Geek gets grabbed. "Gotcha!" gushes Geek, "Gonna get great gobs a green!"

    Except French courts will be laughing too hard to even think about hearing his complaint, and thousands of people will go to McD's an extra time or two just to show their disdain for said geek. US llawyers will obviously try to pursue the suit in the USA where courts are controlled by left-wing crazies, but even they will have to admit that the suit has no merit in the USA as the owner of the store is French, having a franchise there but got in the USA.

    Somebody please put this attention-seeking geek out of our misery.

  • ASAP Says:

    I am not saying that Mann did not get assaulted, but these pictures are certainly not evidence.
    What do we see there?

    The picture with the hand could totally be consistent with blocking the view of the camera, the way you would put your hand in front of the lens of a camera if you do not want someone to take pictures of you. And this is your right!

    Then we see people tearing papers. Mann says these are his doctor's explanations, but this is what HE says...

  • Bertrand Says:


    I thought that this was a place for debate and discussion, not RACISM. Calling French people "frogs" is the same as referring to Chinese as "Chinks" etc. (I really don't want to list more racist names... you get my point). French people are very offended by the name "frogs". Go ahead and criticize the McDonald's employees, but their actions have nothing to do with their nationality (and even if that was the case, RACISM is totally unacceptable).

    What saddens and surprises me even more is that NONE OF YOU have commented on this use of RACIST name-calling. This reveals much more ignorance than what was shown in that McDonalds.

  • Mike Santana Says:

    My feeling is that McDonald's are denying the charges because the security personnel are moonlighting cops.
    The Champs Elysees area is watched by plainclothes which McDonald's would be hard pressed to explain why.

  • gk Says:

    so, if you are a "freak" then you should not be allowed in McDonald's? and if you have a medical implant then you shouldn't go in either? seriously, what trade secrets does McDonald's have that they are afraid will "fall into the wrong hands"?
    and, you never know who has a camera... a pair of glasses with a camera in it... a mini camera ... a pen with a camera in it... a watch with a camera in it... at least you could SEE his camera...

    what should he have done? unscrew his glasses, walk in blind?

    tearing up his doctor's note was just plain ole mean.

  • PM Says:

    Assault? What a jackass, get a life geek.

  • Adam Says:


    What will you be saying in the future when visually impaired people are using similar devices? If I guy who developed hearing aides for a living was wearing a new hearing aide, should he be assaulted because it has a microphone in it?

    The guy is a scientist who has made great strides in providing devices for the visually impaired. He has a degree from MIT and hold a ton of patents in the field of processing digital imaging. It may seem a little weird but his willingness to test these devices on himself makes it possible for great strides to be made.

  • JohnCrow Says:

    >@HurrDurr You sure you weren’t one of the ignorant frogs that tried to assault this poor individual? I say name and shame the frog employees so that we can pay them a visit and show them how much we hate ignorant frogs.

    Oh yeah? And what the fuck are you going to do about it you ignorant, piece of shit? Assuming you're American, I'm willing to bet you couldn't find France on a map if you tried. And if you did somehow figure out how to get there, you probably don't even have a passport (that thing required to travel outside your country).

    An American calling anyone else ignorant is simply the pot calling the kettle 'black'. In laymen's terms, you're quite possibly the least educated, most ignorant people on the planet. Sure the doctor got toughed up unfairly and McDonald's is 100% in the wrong, but you can't condemn ignorance and then in the same breath spew it.

    Lastly, Solom01... Go fuck yourself.

  • Jim Larsen Says:

    If an establishment has a problem with a customer, then they are free to call the police. The judicial system should decide whether Dr Mann was violating a law and what to do with any pictures and whether any monetary damages were due the establishment for harm to their business. Instead, McDonalds decided to take the law into their own hands. In my opinion, McDonalds should be fined, and the individuals who destroyed Dr Mann's property (the note) and assaulted him should get a slap on the wrist too.

  • lineasaved Says:

    Ian makes an excellent point. If you were wearing a hearing aid, and just went into McDonalds or whatever to get a little lunch, and an employee suddenly grabbed for your hearing aids because they were not familiar with the particular brand of hearing aid, wouldn't you be startled and confused, and try to pull away? Physical altercation with a customer is always unacceptable. If the customer is asked politely to leave and won't , then you call the police to escort them out. CYA is basic in a service sector job. I don't know the whole story here, only the people who were there do, but great googly moogly do not put your hands on a customer! Shame on the employees for being bullys, and the store manager for not training them better. Shouldn't matter what country, common sense and courtesy can defuse a tense situation, and could have prevented this foolishness.

  • stwalker Says:

    One of the most hilarious piece of news I have read in a while. Difficult to take seriously. However, it is quite pathetic and could have been handled more diplomatically. But I must admit the individual does look a bit freakish and could scare children and adults while eating their hamburgers in Paris!

  • Ian Says:

    I guess Soloman you'd take a similar stance to those with hearing aids in case they were recording your chocolate terrorism plot? These clearly were medical instruments if you look at the photos and even if they still did not agree who the hell allowed them to put even ao much as a finger on the guy?

    Ask him to leave yes but physically abise him, no. Usual frenxh aggressive attitude in paris.

  • Joseph Says:

    >@Solom01 How did the fact that this device is for medical reasons completely escape you?

    Being a person with a desperate need for attention is not a medical reason, it's a medical condition. When a man feels a psychological compulsion to go from wearing computers to fastening them to his body, implanting microchips(yes, he's also had himself chipped just like your family pet), etc., he's obviously dealing with the same personal issues as people who get 700 plastic surgery operations, cover their bodies in tattoos, or otherwise try to change themselves on the outside to avoid how they feel on the inside. He does not have a medical condition that required him to bolt a video camera to his head; he has psychological problems that both his colleagues and his family indulge him in rather than getting him some help, which is sad. Maybe the silver lining from all this is that Dr. Mann will be forced to confront the fact that his behavior is not normal and start to realize he needs some help.

  • Solom01isatwit Says:

    Solom01 is probably one of the idiots that actually attacked the Doc and what rocket scientist attacks a man wearing a camera in the first place they should both be charged and then fired and mcpukes should be sued just for hiring such idiots like that

  • Bert Says:

    Solom01 you are an idiot!!!!! I know your IQ is only 50 but seriously. Are you secretly like Biff from back to the future or something. If it wasnt for "freaky nerds" like this guy you would be living in a dung hut wearing a loincloth. This is about the stupidest thing I have ever read that was written by a fellow human being

  • jonw Says:

    Here's another way to look at it: imagine that you, owner of a business, establish a no-photography policy in accordance with the laws of your country. You clearly post signs explaining this policy to inform customers in the official language of your country. A person enters your business and uses an unusual device that appears to be a camera, pointing it at employees, customers and all around your business. You explain to him the policy, ask him to stop using the device. He confirms that it's a camera, then hands you a piece of paper written in a foreign language and refuses to stop using it, in fact filming you while you talk to him. I am no expert in the laws of France, but, having worked as a bouncer, I would be surprised if there is not legal justification for attempting to stop him from filming. Almost certainly the business owner has the right to refuse further service, at which point he is trespassing and can be physically removed.

    That being said, not a positive step for customer relations.

  • HurrDurr Says:


    You sure you weren't one of the ignorant frogs that tried to assault this poor individual? I say name and shame the frog employees so that we can pay them a visit and show them how much we hate ignorant frogs.

  • FourEyes Says:


    Take your pp problems and gtfo.

    Thank you, that is all.

  • GT66 Says:

    "A McDonald’s spokesperson confirms that Mann was in fact asked to leave the restaurant, but couldn’t point to any global policy against recording or wearing a computer eyepiece. “It’s up to each restaurant’s discretion to establish its rules,” she says." Ah.. McDonald's, nothing has served you so well as being able to hide behind the franchise agreement.

  • HerpDerp Says:


    So you're all for McDonald's employees ripping up his doctor's note and roughing him up a bit? I'm not sure I buy the whole story of "it doesn't save images by default", but I don't really care about that part. The point here is that one of the world's most well-known corporations is attempting to cover up what appears to be a clear case of employee-on-customer assault.

    As far as your claim that Mr. Mann "belongs in a freak show", I'm pretty confident I would prefer to have him as a next-door neighbor over a myopic reprobate such as yourself.

  • Someguy Says:

    Lets not forget the camera Mann is wearing is attached to his skull via screws! So any attempt to touch, move or remove his camera is too close for comfort and arguably assault.

  • DenseSolom01 Says:

    @Solom01 How did the fact that this device is for medical reasons completely escape you?

  • Zulu Says:


    You are missing the point with your bigotry comments. When using the EyeTap it does NOT save images. With that said, as a safety feature, it only saves images when the device was damaged. So, your little pp is safe in the gym locker.

  • Zulu Says:

    IMO: A guy with two degrees and creator of the EyeTap has more important things than making up a story of being attacked. His account and pictures makes me believe him 100% and McDonald's is not taking this assault seriously.

    Steve's blog has a link to a similar story and yet again McDonald's has denied any wrong doing. If you read Penny Sheldon’s account of being physically assaulted and it really proves that McDonald’s in France will assault its customers when they take pictures in the store.

  • Solom01 Says:

    Quite frankly I'm all for McDonald's on this one. I don't want every strange geek to be snapping pictures of me where ever I am. For those of us who disagree, how comfortable would you be at a gym locker room if weird nerds like this were wondering around video taping you as you got dressed? This jerk belongs in a freak show.

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