McDonald's has denied that staff at a Paris restaurant assaulted "father of augmented reality" Professor Steve Mann, insisting that no damage to the researcher's Google Glass-style wearable computer was caused. In a new statement provided to SlashGear, McDonald's says that it has individually interviewed "several staff members" at the Paris restaurant, and "all independently and consistently expressed that their interaction with Dr. Mann was polite and did not involve a physical altercation."
Mann claimed earlier this week that, while on a family holiday in France, he was assaulted by employees at a McDonald's restaurant in Paris. The professor, who has been involved in wearables research for several decades, was wearing the latest iteration of his EyeTap head-mounted display, which is permanently fixed to his head and requires special tools.
According to Mann, while he showed staff at the fast food eatery documentation explaining the nature of the augmented reality wearable and was initially told that there was no problem with him wearing it on the premises, a subsequent altercation with other staff led to an assault. Employees attempted to grab the wearable headset from his head, and then ripped up the letter from his doctor that he had brought.
McDonald's, however, says its own investigation suggests the encounter was significantly different. Rather than the aggressive attitude Mann describes, McDonald's says staff insist that "they did not damage any of Mr. Mann's personal possessions."
According to the chain, the French brand has contacted Mann and is waiting on further content. It has not commented on the photos captured by Mann's EyeTap headset itself, which seem to show staff tearing up the doctor's letter.
"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."