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McDonald's Denies Prof's Claim Staff Attacked Him For Wearing Digital Glasses 627

Posted by samzenpus
from the grimace-on-grimace dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "In an update to a story posted on Slashdot earlier this week, McDonald's has responded to the claims of Steve Mann, a University of Toronto professor and augmented reality pioneer who says McDonald's staff in Paris assaulted him tried to pull off a computer eyepiece he's worn for decades, then threw him out of the restaurant. McDonald's confirms that Mann was ejected from the premises, but denies that there was a 'physical altercation' with staff or that they destroyed any of his property. That last claim is especially dubious, since Mann has posted photos taken from his eyepiece that show McDonald's staff ripping up a doctor's note that he showed them to explain his need to wear the device. The company still hasn't explained why Mann was removed from the restaurant, but Mann has speculated that it has a policy against recording."
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McDonald's Denies Prof's Claim Staff Attacked Him For Wearing Digital Glasses

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  • by tommeke100 (755660) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:29PM (#40692565)
    release the security cams!

    And looks like someone failed hamburger college!
  • Yeah... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SomePgmr (2021234) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:29PM (#40692569) Homepage

    Ok, McD's... let's see the security footage.

    You're in the court of public opinion and it ain't lookin' good.

  • by slackware 3.6 (2524328) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:30PM (#40692579)
    Terminator or some other evil cyborg from the future.
  • by Ichijo (607641) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:35PM (#40692637) Homepage Journal

    ...using organic video and audio sensors, onto a storage medium consisting of neurons and synapses. Does this mean they would throw me out, too?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:39PM (#40692671)

    I always thought of the McDonalds experience as follow:
    1. You know their food is shit before you start.
    2. It tastes like shit while you eat.
    3. You feel like shit afterwards.
    4. (They) Profit

    Now they've apparently added steps:
    1.5 They treat you like shit while in store

    Nice to see they're still working to grow the general shity-ness of the experience.

  • An Ridiculous Policy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:46PM (#40692735)

    MacDonald's hostility to photography, like that of Starbucks, is ridiculous.

    Modern digital cameras easy to conceal. Besides, anyone with genuine interior design talent could visit one of their business, eating a burger while seeming to be doing no more than casually glance around. They could then go away and recreate what they saw almost as precisely as a photograph.

    These blunders are probably the result of lawyers getting involved. A lawyer will attempt to deny anything that he thinks the other side can't prove. MacDonald's lawyers apparently aren't aware of just how much got recorded.

    One suggestion to Slashdot readers. If you're in a situation like this, do your best to use your phone to record what's happening without being noticed. That'll help the good guy in the dispute. You might even practice what you should do, from starting up a camera app to perhaps slipping it in a shirt pocket with the lens able to see everything that's happening.

    --Michael W. Perry, author of Untangling Tolkien

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "One suggestion to Slashdot readers. If you're in a situation like this, do your best to use your phone to record what's happening without being noticed. That'll help the good guy in the dispute. You might even practice what you should do, from starting up a camera app to perhaps slipping it in a shirt pocket with the lens able to see everything that's happening."

      Good idea, and you might even get a viral video out of it.

    • by frovingslosh (582462) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:48PM (#40693211)

      anyone with genuine interior design talent could visit one of their business, eating a burger while seeming to be doing no more than casually glance around. They could then go away and recreate what they saw almost as precisely as a photograph.

      But that couldn't serve as evidence against health code violations (or proof of customer assault). When a company forbids taking pictures at their store (even for a kid's birthday party) but also says that they are recording you, one should wonder what they are trying to hide.

    • by taustin (171655)

      You should, however, be familiar with various laws regarding such things where you are. In the US, laws vary a lot, but generally, the inside of a store isn't a public place, and if they have a policy against photography/filming, you could possibly face criminal charges if you're caught.

      And in some states, audio recording (which your cell phone will likely do by default) without advance persmission from everyone is a felony.

      You may not agree with the law, but you know as well as I do you're not ready to go

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:00PM (#40692861)

    The company still hasn't explained why Mann was removed from the restaurant

    It's pretty obvious - we've all seen the photo of Mann and his headgear. That McDonalds obviously has a "no shirt, no shoes, no service" policy in place.

  • DPA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:14PM (#40692961)

    Why doesn't he do a Data Protection Act (all EU members have one) request on the CCTV footage, he will have to pay a small fee but he can get any footage he appears in.

  • No Kidding! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrismcb (983081) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:18PM (#40692991) Homepage
    They asked the "perps" individually, and they all said they treated Mr Mann with the utmost respect. No Kidding! What did you expect them to say? "Oh yeah, we beat that customer up."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:19PM (#40693003)

    At least when I was there...

    I was in a Paris McDonalds in 2005, and pulled out my camera to take a photo of the menu board. Before I could even focus a man tapped me on the shoulder, point at the camera, and shook his head. He had on a McDonalds uniform but I think was security. He didn't leave my side while in the store. I just wanted my Royale with Cheese photo!

  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:31PM (#40693081)

    The company still hasn't explained why Mann was removed from the restaurant, but Mann has speculated that it has a policy against recording.

    Not sure about the arches (have refused to eat there for the last 36 years - that's my right, don't mod me down because you eat there), but I've seen a sign on company owned Burger King restaurants that forbid customers from using cameras on the premises. This warning is on the same door sticker that advises customers that the store is recording them! I asked the manager and he said, yes, it does apply ever to someone wanting to record a child's birthday party there. When I said "It makes you wonder and worry about what the company is trying to hide" he just laughed and said "Yea.".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:47PM (#40693195)

    I am skeptical of Steve's side to all of this.
    Note the following:

    *I see many commentors claiming that Steve's apparatus is screwed to his skull and is necessary. Many of Steve's students have routinely seen him walking around without a computer. I have never seen any evidence that he has any sort of implants, and am pretty certain he doesnt have stuff screwed to the skull. Notice how he doesnt clairify these things.

    * As far as I can tell, his single entry blog is the first place I've seen him refer to his HMD as Eyetap Digital glass. This is undoubtadley for him to associate with the Google Glass project.

    *Take a look at his wikipedia entries under "gloggee". He has a penchant for making up neologisms an claiming to ha e invented things that he wasnt really involved with.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:36PM (#40693507)

    This is the 2nd report of physical assault by McDonald's staff at that same location to hit the news:

    http://onyoursi.de/2011/08/whats-your-problem-assaulted-for-taking-a-photo-of-le-menu/ [onyoursi.de]

    McDonald's insists Sheldon wasn't touched during the confrontation. But Sheldon remembers it differently.

    "She grabbed me by my arm and jacket and threw my back against the open door, all the while grabbing at different parts of my coat with one hand and pinning me there with another," Sheldon told me.

    And McDonald's explanation of what occurred does not match the photo. If lying about the situation seems to work, then of course the employees at that location are never going to feel like assaulting customers has any consequences.

    • by Lando (9348)

      I love this response from McD's from the article.

      I checked with McDonald’s and it said an investigation was underway. But today, you received a reply from McDonald’s France that said your version couldn’t be substantiated. Interviews with employees and a client suggest you had nothing more than a polite disagreement with the employee.

      And then a few paragraphs later.

      But she also said the confrontation shouldn’t have happened, and that a manager at the restaurant “had a conversation with the employee in which he emphasized that crew members are to remain calm and professional at all times, in all circumstances.”

      Which strikes me as odd, if it was a polite disagreement why did the manager have to have a conversation with the employee?

  • by abarrow (117740) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @11:05PM (#40693669) Homepage

    Dr. Mann has had this sort of thing happen to him his entire professional career. Here's one from 2002
    http://it.slashdot.org/story/02/03/14/2051228/airport-security-vs-cyborg-steve-mann [slashdot.org]

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @11:58PM (#40693963)
    The glasses either are damaged or they are not. The end. This is not hard.

    The company still hasn't explained why Mann was removed from the restaurant, but Mann has speculated that it has a policy against recording.

    Now that's where his credibility falls off a cliff. Let me reinact his version that would reach that end result: "Sir, we're asking you to leave but we're not telling you specifically why. Try to speculate on why it may be while you're in the parking lot."

    Here's my version: "So...this paper says it can take pictures? GTFO, perv! You can't covertly snap photos of people with a camera hidden in your glasses, it's making our customers uncomfortable."

    Which sounds more reasonable to you?

  • by Lisias (447563) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @12:04AM (#40694007) Homepage Journal

    "Our goal is to provide a welcoming environment and stellar service to McDonald’s customers around the world."

    No shit! =]

    Mr. Mann saw stars for hours after visiting a McDonald's ! =P

  • by thisisauniqueid (825395) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @04:19AM (#40695399)
    A couple of years ago, I tried photographing the menu board in a McDonald's in Beijing, because so many items on the menu were so incredibly bizarre. A store manager came over and was very unfriendly to me about it, asked me to delete pictures from my camera, and basically told me he would throw me out of the restaurant if I kept trying to take pictures. I wonder if there is some corporate policy that inspires this sort of behavior?
  • Read the statement (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Quantum Jim (610382) <jfcst24NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday July 19, 2012 @10:03AM (#40697907) Homepage Journal

    Am I the only one that read the statement? It seems to me that they are collecting information. In fact McDonald's doesn't deny they attacked him, they only state that their employees denied it. It's an important distinction. Their employees are quite naturally saying, "We're innocent!" while Mann's saying "They're guilty." Mann provided proof that one of their statements - namely that they didn't damage any of his property - is incorrect. But it doesn't seem McDonalds, as a whole, is calling Mann a liar. Here's the statement:

    We share the concern regarding Dr. Mann’s account of his July 1 visit to a McDonald’s in Paris. McDonald’s France was made aware of Dr. Mann’s complaints on July 16, and immediately launched a thorough investigation. The McDonald’s France team has contacted Dr. Mann and is awaiting further information from him.

    In addition, several staff members involved have been interviewed individually, and all independently and consistently expressed that their interaction with Dr. Mann was polite and did not involve a physical altercation. Our crew members and restaurant security staff have informed us that they did not damage any of Mr. Mann’s personal possessions.

    While we continue to learn more about the situation, we are hearing from customers who have questions about what happened. We urge everyone not to speculate or jump to conclusions before all the facts are known. Our goal is to provide a welcoming environment and stellar service to McDonald’s customers around the world.

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