Eyewitness account from Molotov’s conflicts with Google Glass Explorer’s story


A Google Glass "Explorer" and social media consultant from San Mateo made international headlines after visiting San Francisco for being “verbally and physically assaulted ... because of some Google Glass haters,” she wrote on Facebook.

But her official account of the incident as reported to police conflicts with an eyewitness account from someone who saw the fight unfold.

On Feb. 22, Sarah Slocum went with some friends to Molotov’s, a punk bar in San Francisco’s Lower Haight neighborhood. It was sometime around last call. The patrons did not take kindly to the idea that she was donning Google Glass, and thus possibly recording them, inside the bar.

Google Glass is a hands-free device that connects users to the Internet via a tiny screen that floats in front of the wearer’s eye. It’s capable of streaming live video. Those testing it out are called "Explorers," and Google specifically directs its Explorers to "ask permission before taking photos or videos of others."

According to Albie Esparza, San Francisco Police Department spokesperson, Slocum reported that she was “engaged in a verbal altercation with three suspects,” because they “believed she was videotaping without their consent.”

During that confrontation, “one of the suspects grabbed the Google Glass off her face,” Esparza said, “and she ran out of the bar in pursuit. She retrieved the Google Glass,” Esparza said, but when she returned to the interior of the bar, she discovered that her purse and cell phone had gone missing.

Esparza said there is an open investigation, but no charges have been filed.

In a video Slocum released to KRON 4, a woman can be heard telling Slocum that she, as a techie, is “ruining the city.”

According to a source who did not want to be named, that woman was a bartender at Molotov’s who was not working that night, but has been fired in the days since this incident blew up in the news. When reached by phone, a staff member at Molotov’s said he was not authorized to comment on that.

According to a bar patron who was there that night, the situation didn’t really get out of hand until Slocum’s male companion threw a punch at one of the individuals who had been asking Slocum to stop recording.

Bryan Lester, who was outside the bar with a friend who was unlocking his bike when Slocum emerged from Molotov’s onto the sidewalk, said Slocum was still wearing her Google Glass when she exited the bar.

“I had seen her in the back when I had gotten a drink,” said Lester, who said he was hanging out near the pinball machines in the front of the bar that night.

“She was with a group of friends and ... they seemed to be attracting a little bit of attention, but nothing serious, before last call.”

On the sidewalk outside Molotov’s, Lester said, “I believe that some words were exchanged ... and then I saw the man protecting her throw a punch at the other gentleman and push him into a car and took a couple swings at him on the hood of the car.”

According to a different source who also saw things unfold from the street, “He did grab it from off her face but he told her to stop recording him and then he handed it back to her.” After that, “her boyfriend came, socked him in the face, then the fight broke out and the bouncer stopped it.”

Lester said the scuffle on the hood of the car lasted “about 30 seconds.” After that, “they were separated and the fight was over.”

Based on all accounts, it seems Slocum did have her purse and cell phone robbed. Which totally sucks.

We sought an interview with Slocum for this story, but were unable to make contact.

Mainstream media outlets have sensationalized this bar fight, because it plays so perfectly into the narrative that techies are somehow unsafe in San Francisco due to widespread anger over tech’s presence in gentrifying neighborhoods.

A tension certainly exists, because long-term residents are getting evicted and displaced at higher rates than ever before in the face of soaring rents. At the same time, it should be obvious to anyone that entering a punk bar at last call wearing Google Glass is going to ruffle some feathers. Combine this with alcohol, and the fact that a fight broke out isn’t terribly surprising.

There’s another issue here that few seem to be questioning. Isn’t there a privacy concern that arises when patrons go into bars wearing devices that can record live video and instantly stream it? I wondered about this the time I tried on Glass. (By the way, Glass can run facial recognition software.)

Instead of having an in-depth discussion about privacy, unfortunately, the controversy around this bar fight remains mired in some nonsense about whether the incident should be considered a “hate crime.”

“What makes this story special,” Slocum wrote on her Facebook page, “is that no one has experienced a hate crime or been targeted for a hate crime, which is what it was, for wearing Google Glass.”

But it's not. The phrase “hate crime” has a very specific definition, as determined by Congress. Unless a victim has been targeted out of a bias against his or her race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation, it’s factually inaccurate to characterize any incident as a “hate crime.”

This could get even uglier. Already on Twitter, one of Slocum's supporters has called for Glass wearers to congregate at Molotov's in support of Slocum. And just wait and see what happens when people start wearing Lambda hats.

Logan Hesse contributed to this report.


OK, thanks.

So, just to be clear, any bar I walk into I can personally enforce any norm that I wish.

If the person doesn't do as I ask I can resort to physical force against them.

Do you have any idea how stupid you sound?

There was a bartender, there was a bouncer....but you prefer the rule of the schoolyard.


Posted by Guest on Feb. 26, 2014 @ 10:41 pm

"Do you have any idea how stupid you sound?"

Only to you child, so I consider the source.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 26, 2014 @ 10:57 pm

So you don't have any response to him. Got it.

I don't like the idea of GG either. I don't want anyone recording me in a bar. But I'm not going to go up and grab it off of em (male or female). And yeah, you can go tell the bartender and let em know it's not cool with you. It's up to the bar if they want to allow it in there or not. Certain places (including bars and casinos) ban GG. If the bartender doesn't have a problem with it, it's your choice to stay (and POSSIBLY be recorded) or leave and go to another bar. 9 times out of 10 there is another bar within one block of where you're at.

There are a lot of things you can start a fight over. Someone wearing GG is not one of em. Especially since your face would be recorded right there.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 26, 2014 @ 11:19 pm

was started by the person who threw the first punch, not the person who turned off the recording device after repeated requests were met with blissful indifference.

When someone is violating basic social norms, the rest of the patrons shouldn't be forced to clear out the bar in order to continue their evening. The offender should stop when asked, or leave the bar themselves.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 26, 2014 @ 11:44 pm

No. The fight started when the person put his hands on the woman. That was "battery". Her boyfriend then retaliated.

You don't get to define "basic societal norms" inside a bar. The bar owners and its employees do. If someone is being a drunken jerk, do you go up to them and tell them to settle down, and that if they don't, YOU'LL throw them out? No. It's the bar's decision what to allow and what not to allow. It's not yours. If you don't like it, again, go somewhere else!

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 12:33 pm

Brought to you by the conservatrolls, with a generous grant from the Criminal Injustice System.

Beating the daylights out of your domestic partner and sending him to the hospital: NOT battery, provided it was done by Julius Turman, a member in good standing of the City Family and sitting police commissioner appointed by the mayor.

Grabbing your domestic partner's arm: Battery!... if it was done by a progressive.

Turning off a recording device: Battery! Because conservatrolls love techies.

Punching someone in the face for doing it: NOT battery! See above.

Protester gets the shit beat out of them by a police officer: Battery!
(trick question: it's battery OF a police officer, BY the protester!)

I think I'm beginning to understand the rules of this game...

Posted by Greg on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 11:18 pm

According to you, it's "the law of the jungle" for multiple people to ask someone to stop recording them, and to finally turn off the device when the person doesn't comply with multiple requests from multiple people.

According to you, asking someone to turn off a device, and then doing it when the person ignores you, amounts to "physical force" and "law of the jungle."

But actually PUNCHING someone in the face, does NOT amount to "physical force" or "law of the jungle."

Do you have any idea how stupid YOU sound?

Posted by Greg on Feb. 26, 2014 @ 11:14 pm

An adult would directly ask the person doing something offensive to stop. That's how adults handle situations. But of course that assumes the offender is an adult themselves. The problem arises when the offender themselves is a mental child, or as some have said, a sociopath. Then what do you do, when the offender just ignores everyone? Tell the bouncer? The bouncer could care less. It's a tough situation. The guy who turned off the glasses acted more boldly than most, but judging from the reactions of the other patrons, I think he did what everyone else wanted to do. The glass-wearer acted like a child, and her boyfriend acted like a bully. A criminal, actually.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 26, 2014 @ 11:34 pm

By your logic if I don't like the way you're talking at a bar, I can tell you to shut up, and if you don't, I can throw you out. You don't like it? Tough shit. Here's a thought. It's NOT your establishment. The owners (and employees) of the bar get to set the rules. Other bars have the policy of not allowing people to wear GG. If the bartenders don't give a shit, then take your business elsewhere. Write a complaint on Yelp. But the second you put your hands on someone, you're at fault.

The guy who grabbed her glasses committed battery. The boyfriend retaliated. And he had no proof that the GG were even recording. If I don't like what you're wearing because it offends me, can I tell you to go change? And if you ignore me can I wrap you up in a towel?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 4:41 pm

He acted after everyone she came in contact with signaled their displeasure with her behavior. His actions were the logical consequence of being clueless and tone deaf to the wishes of everyone in the immediate vicinity. And he did have proof. He turned it off.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 11:26 pm

I got the person's point. Too bad you couldn't grasp it.

Being so dependent upon "those in authority" and living a black and white life as you do, with no gray in it whatsoever, do you still have to ask someone in "a position of authority" when and if you should cross the street, or to do anything else for that matter? Do you enjoy the rule of your dictatorship and those in "authority?"

Posted by Guest on Feb. 26, 2014 @ 11:53 pm

"And guess what...you grab something off of the face of a woman in a bar and you get punched by her boyfriend. Try it sometime if you don't believe me."

If a guy were to go into a bar and start recording everyone even after multiple people tell him to stop, he'd have a fist smashing those glasses through his forehead instead of having someone bother to turn them off and give them back in one piece. Try it sometime if you don't believe me.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 26, 2014 @ 10:43 pm

Recording people without their permission is unacceptable. But, has anyone noticed that there was no outrage when protesters filmed google employees sitting on their shuttle? Why is that?

This is really my problem with many of the posters on this site. They're disingenuous. A certain behavior is bad when someone they don't like does it, but when someone they agree with politically engages in a similar activity, it's not a problem.

The woman wearing the google glasses was being extremely obnoxious. And she was clearly lying about not filming people. Molotov's should have booted her (though it is extremely difficult to get thrown out of that bar).

Posted by Snoozers on Feb. 26, 2014 @ 10:46 pm

the report says she turned the video on after things started heating up, so your premise is faulty to start with.

and why is it ok for you to call her a technodouche, shit-for-brains and a sociopath? Nice discourse, dick.

Posted by guestD on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 10:58 am

his arguments are so extreme, that it may be an elaborate attempt to discredit the left.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 11:14 am

If you're so worried about proper discourse without personal attacks then why would you throw out a personal attack of your own?

Nice discourse

Posted by Guest on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 12:14 pm

She *claims* that she started recording after things got heated, but the initial scenes in the video show a lady apparently asking very politely, while smiling, to have her turn it off. Didn't seem very heated.

Then she states that people were shielding themselves "as if" she was recording, "and it wasn't even on." Again, obviously a lie. At the time they were shielding themselves, it was demonstrably on, contrary to her "report."

She showed herself to be objectively clueless (hence shit-for-brains), and seems to fit the clinical definition of sociopathy. Douchy behavior is a matter of opinion, but given everything else, I stand by the opinion.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 8:04 pm

"Mainstream media outlets have sensationalized this bar fight, because it plays so perfectly into the narrative that techies are somehow unsafe in San Francisco due to widespread anger over tech’s presence in gentrifying neighborhoods."

The Bay Guardian clearly implied impending violence toward tech workers in it's most recent editorial...

"This must end, or the righteous populist anger that is consuming the city will only get worse."

Now the Bay Guardian claims violence towards tech workers is a politically motivated invention of the mainstream media. Hilarious. I realize that your moral certainty that you're on the "right" side of every issue allows you to justify routinely lying by omission in your articles, but, at some point, even the SFBG staff has to just laugh at the huge amount of bullshit they try and get away with.

Also, a lot of drugs get bought and sold at Molotov's. That's one possible explanation for the negative reactions some people had when they thought they were being filmed.

Posted by Snoozers on Feb. 26, 2014 @ 7:36 pm

It's pretty common to read some blathering about how the right winger was whipped into a frenzy by talk radio or Fox news by left wingers.

It's gospel on the left that right wingers are manipulated by the right wing media, when there is violence it is the result of all the "hate speech."

The left are all clever deep thinkers who think for themselves, by the way did you read the articles about "big soda?"

Posted by guest on Feb. 26, 2014 @ 8:00 pm


Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 1:33 pm

It's matlock writing as "guest."

Posted by Greg on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 3:13 pm

When a right winger goes ape it is the fault of the right wing media.

When a left winger goes ape it is the fault of the right wing media.

Posted by guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 7:38 pm

Only us landlords are entitled to call for violence, like when we say that stronger rent control might just lead to "more fires" and "disappearing tenants."

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 12:04 am

You're right! Violence towards someone trespassing on your private property is never justified, but a woman wearing google glasses clearly deserves to be assaulted. Is it really that hard to understand?

Wait.... I thought the Guardian said the violence was a mainstream media construct.

Posted by Snoozers on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 12:59 am

Rent control = trespass = justification for violence

And you're criticizing other people for hypocrisy???

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 8:13 am

violence. He merely said that there inevitably will be some correlation between the two.

You cannot take from someone for decades and not expect some pushback.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 8:23 am

Well then there's a correlation between techies ruining this city, and the possibly violent backlash that it may engender. Nobody's calling for violence, just innocently pointing out the correlation.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 10:50 am

They are part of a change but whether that change is good or bad is highly subjective.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 11:13 am

Rent control preserves the city. Tech workers ruin it.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 8:08 am

Tell that to Assar Lindbeck.

"next to bombing, rent control seems in many cases to be the most efficient technique so far known for destroying cities"

Posted by Guest on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 8:17 am

Well you know what they say... opinions are like assholes. Everyone's got one.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 8:27 am
Posted by Guest on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 9:05 am

For Krugman's 14-year old piece to be dragged out. Never fails. Too bad for you dicks that rent control is here to stay.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 9:18 am

So is the Ellis Act

Posted by Guest on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 9:39 am

And Ellis will have it's 30th birthday next year. It's been around almost as long as rent control.

Greg thinks RC is here forever, but he ignores that no new RC units are being created and a few thousand vanish every year.

RC may never be repealed but it will fade away as the number of tenants under it dwindles away. Or die, literally.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 10:18 am

Even Ed Lee is paying lip service to "reforming" the Ellis Act. No serious people are talking about getting rid of rent control.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 8:07 pm

"A few months ago, when a San Francisco official proposed a study of the city's housing crisis, there was a firestorm of opposition from tenant-advocacy groups. They argued that even to study the situation was a step on the road to ending rent control -- and they may well have been right, because studying the issue might lead to a recognition of the obvious."

Posted by Snoozers on Mar. 01, 2014 @ 3:08 am

Ellis is state law, dumbbell

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2014 @ 7:36 pm

Not that that ever stops hwim from having an opinion on everything.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 03, 2014 @ 7:15 am

The fact that rent control is bad policy is timeless.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 10:16 am

And that old piece demonstrated that despite his reputation for being "sensible," he is perfectly capable of talking out of his ass now and then. (Did he or the NYT ever print a correction saying that "oh, we thought SF had vacancy control... nevermind... ?")

Typical for winger trolls who also say "So, you are saying.... [misparaphrasing what has been said]" or "In other words.... [misparaphrasing what has been said]" to brand as "liberal hero" anybody who has ever said anything they find objectionable. It's a two-fer: it devalues their speech as being partisan hackers, and it falsely ascribes mainstream thinking to those who may have far more radical (and valid) opinions.

"Your hero Ted Turner"; "Your hero George Soros" etc etc.

Trolls are so tiresomely predictable if you don't make a game out of it.

Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 9:03 pm

Link to a non-Marxist economist who supports rent control?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2014 @ 7:37 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 03, 2014 @ 7:14 am

First of all, the posts advocating violence were made in the lets-squat-Airbnb thread; which was a troll blog by Steven to begin with. But, even there, those posts were out of line and needlessly provocative and I found them distasteful.

Second, I believe the majority of those posts were obviously phony, made by people trying to create the perception that landlords are violent.

Third, even if none of the posts were phony, you have zero evidence that they were made by actual San Francisco landlords.

Finally, those comments (unhinged as they were) came from individuals. The Bay Guardian is a publication with far reaching distribution. It's like the difference between the racist down the street calling for the internment of a minority group, and the Chronicle doing it. You can't compare the two.

As for hypocrisy, I don't think any human being is immune. But the SFBG takes such a biased tact on EVERYTHING they publish that I feel they should be called on at least some of their more blatant contradictions.

Posted by Snoozers on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 3:28 pm

"Mainstream [change to: CORPORATE] media outlets have sensationalized this bar fight, because it plays so perfectly into the narrative that techies are somehow unsafe in San Francisco due to widespread anger over tech’s presence in gentrifying neighborhoods."

Fuck tech and their useless addicting surveillance gadgets and apps. Wouldn't tech be pissed if the tables were turned and they were being evicted, kicked out and gentrified out of the city?

Regarding "Lambda hats."

They're being made in China. We couldn't make Lambda hats in the US and help give USans the jobs and help employ people here in the US? Just more useless garbage, just like most of these gadgets that will be in the landfills shortly. And the sheeple will have to get all new ones, unless the tech bubble pops... and I can't wait for the tech bubble to pop. Let 'Er Rip!

Smartphone Addiction: The Epidemic Grows

One Way To Get People To Put Down Their Gadget

Posted by Guest on Feb. 26, 2014 @ 8:32 pm

and electric lights too - you definitely sound old enough to have done so.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 26, 2014 @ 8:56 pm

for the myth of meritocracy. She is probably from a privileged background and cannot speak or think properly. "I wear Google Glass to prevent backlash against Google Glass."

Attention seeking behavior in order to push her most likely useless social media company.

Has it come to this? The greatest civil rights issue of our time is the right to wear a computer on your glasses to record people whom that computer offends.

Google Glass encapsulates the embarrassment and emptiness of this so-called tech revolution.

Without some sort of correction, the United States, and especially San Francisco, will resemble a combination of Wall-E and The Hunger Games within a decade.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 26, 2014 @ 8:51 pm

I've lived in SF for almost 10 years. After having coffee at Philz on Golden Gate, I was walking to an event at a mid-market office, and while passing several encampments of homeless people (yes, they were actually setting up a tent on one side of the Bill Graham center), couldn't help but feel on my guard. IT WAS 6:30 PM, AND I WAS CONCERNED WITH BEING ATTACKED. Please SF city government, clean up this city. Especially the homeless near SFPL.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 12:15 am

to make sure you feel comfortable. You weren't attacked. If you feel on your guard in San Francisco, move to Walnut Creek.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 12:32 am

I agree with Greg. Move to Walnut Creek, or Concord. Either one. But they have homeless people there too for you to be paranoid over.

I just read an article about the District of Columbia. The homeless population in the District is up 135 percent from last year. So wherever you go, there will be homeless people. Maybe you should just learn to co-exist with them rather than feeling that you are above them, when you're not. You're no better than they are. You just think you are with this high pedestal you've propped yourself on. We are all human beings.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 1:05 am

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