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.


Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 11:12 am

I agree--there's plenty of room at the Googleplex.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 12:22 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 12:26 pm

How about Facebook? The weather is idyllic in Menlo Park.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 1:09 pm

will get no argument from me, although I suspect they would prefer Oakland.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 1:28 pm

I suspect they'd prefer Aspen.

But in reality, I'd suspect they'd prefer to just be left alone than to be bullied by paranoid, hateful, elitist snots who think their shit don't stink.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 5:32 pm

they don't want handouts. but if they want handouts, then they go where we tell them to go.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 6:14 pm


If they ask for a handout and if you can't give them any money, all you say is: "sorry, I can't help you" and show them some empathy while you say that (not that *you* Mr/Ms Cold-Ass have any empathy).

That's worked for me for years and I've never had any problem with a homeless person. Try it.

As opposed to being a fucking asshole on a power trip, with someone---because of their circumstance---who may not be all there to begin with. And by the sound of it, neither are you.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 7:16 pm

so if we want all the homeless to move to Bayview, we make that the only location for handouts.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 10:15 am

wherever we say they have to go to get them.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 03, 2014 @ 7:13 am

This article is about tech, and not your hate for the homeless and your paranoid concerns. Get some therapy. Hope this helps.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 12:57 am
Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 7:40 am

At least not until the glass-wearer made it one. It's socially acceptable to record unusual scenes when they come up, such as an accident, or police actions. But it's not socially acceptable to randomly record people in their daily lives. This isn't something that has to be explained to most adults.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 10:55 am

If i'm having a good time in a bar, I would neither know nor care if anyone is recording me.

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

You're not a child, at least not physically, so you're too old to teach basic social norms. The only thing I can say is, why don't you try to go into a bar and start recording everyone. That should give you a really quick crash course in what is acceptable and what is not.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 3:10 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 3:37 pm

and test your theory out.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 11:28 pm

time. Assuming that you do not feature in any photo or recording is naive.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 10:14 am
Posted by Greg on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 8:08 pm

Everyone knows that REAL punks live in the East Bay....Perhaps they cross the Bridge to go to Thee Parkside occasionally....SF Punks are pretenders.....

Posted by Richmondman on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 11:03 am

The only real punks are 60 years old, have hernias and cataracts, and are still pretending that they never had to grow up

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 11:16 am

Punk is for sissies and skateboarders. I'd like to hear more about the Sarah Slocum bukkake afterparty.

Posted by Chromefields on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 11:47 am

wiseacre comment lasts.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

Makes a difference ven when there is a tad of satire involved

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 1:10 pm

More like sociopathic blather, if you ask me.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 2:28 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 2:56 pm

That's really the best way to describe it. Chromefields probably got off on torturing small animals as a boy. Shit, he probably still does.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 3:39 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 4:13 pm

You'll have to forgive Greg Guest. One can only have so many of one's arguments blown apart before they start to get a little huffy. Usually whenever Greg can't refute an argument, he drops off the topic and when called on it, he tries to hide it by saying something along the lines of "not dealing with trolls". Which is Gregspeak for: "I just got made to look like the offspring of a mentally challenged donkey".

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 6:02 pm

Mr. Chromefields obviously suffers from some form of Tourettes Syndrome.

We shouldn't be making fun of the poor dear.

Posted by Idora Woodside on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 9:29 pm

The SFBG no longer has 100% free speech or in this case the written word, now its a in censorship mode

Posted by GuestFight back on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 12:53 pm

No one call Rebecca a whore today.

Posted by Chromefields on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 1:40 pm

I remember the rule now.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 2:13 pm

It's not not Ok to call someone and attention " "

Including Gavin Newsom I suppose.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 3:34 pm

SFBG is a private organization that allows you and I to use their private property (this message forum) at their sole discretion. They are free to cut off service, to not publish comments, to delete comments, modify comments, etc.

"Free speech" is a concept limited to the First Amendment, and it concerns restraints on the government's ability to censor expression (and in some very limited circumstances private parties acting on behalf of the government). Some states, like California, have a slightly more expansive concept of legal 'free speech" protections, but nowhere is any private organization required to allow people to comment on their private website or say whatever they wish.

In short, you don't have "free speech" on SFBG's website, and you never have had it.

Posted by Chris Brown on Mar. 02, 2014 @ 6:27 pm

Sarah Slocum (sober): “This is a great technology that can be used to prevent these types of incidents.” [KRON interview]
And (regarding the glasshole incident not being a hate crime, as she called it): ~”Maybe there should be a new definition of hate crimes”
Just who is paying this bobo her ‘media consultant’ fees?
If this is not the the best example of what these people are doing, bringing, to this city with their witless onslaught of cash, insensitivity, and entitlement, I don’t know what is. And she doesn’t even live here–yet (Thank Christ for that).


From her Facebook page…
[COMMENT] So sorry for your troubles. Don’t pay attention to victim blaming assumptions. If you were assaulted and robbed, glad you reported it. A question: you keep using the word “hate” in reference to this situation. Could you please reconsider that phrase (which has sometimes been reported as “hate crime” – not sure if you said or reporters misinterpreted “haight” for “hate” etc.) because the definition is really seriously different — not to detract from your legitimate complaints. Nobody should be unsafe because of their use of consumer tech in public within legal limits. http://www.fbi.gov/…/civilrights/hate_crimes/overview

[Sarah Slocum to COMMENTER] well maybe it is time to change the definition.


When offered the (sardonic? tongue-in-cheek?) opportunity to back-pedal from ‘hate crime’ into ‘Haight Crime’ by one of her Facebook commentators she was not, let’s say, a current subscriber to the Carpe Diem Club. What self-respecting media consultant would not have latched onto that life preserver in this situation (and pretend it was a [bad] pun she originally intended)?
Again, who’s paying this bobo her fees?

Posted by gussdolan on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 5:35 pm

Calling it a hate crime is a stretch. Still, I looked it up in the dictionary and wikipedia (for what that's worth) just for fun.

Dictionary definition....

"a crime motivated by racial, sexual, or OTHER PREJUDICE, typically one involving violence."

And from wikipedia...

"In both crime and law, hate crime (also known as bias-motivated crime[citation needed]) is a usually violent, prejudice motivated crime that occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of HIS OR HER PERCEIVED MEMBERSHIP IN A CERTAIN SOCIAL GROUP. Examples of such groups include but are NOT LIMITED TO: ethnicity, gender identity, language, nationality, physical appearance, religion, or sexual orientation.[1][2]

Hate crime generally refers to criminal acts that are seen to have been motivated by bias against one or more of the types above, or of their derivatives. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, or offensive graffiti or letters."

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

I think we have a new term in the popular lexicon.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 11:32 pm

As Greg well knows from the many drenchings he's endured, bukkake is not torture, but an artifact of Japanese culture.

Posted by Chromefields on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 7:20 am
Posted by Guest on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 11:29 am

I'd like to apologize to the posters on this board for the egregious statements of my son.

God knows his father and I gave the boy everything. The best schools, credit cards, a BMW for his 16th birthday, but he's never been able to control his mouth.

I, his own mother, can hardly stand to spend 10 minutes with him anymore.

Posted by Mrs. Chromefields on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 9:57 pm

He has a definite talent for striking a nerve.

Posted by Snoozers on Mar. 01, 2014 @ 6:35 pm

I suppose, compared to say....Rachel Maddow

Posted by Boron McPluto on Mar. 01, 2014 @ 7:40 pm

It's Ricky Maddow, actually. Ricky.

Posted by Chromefields on Mar. 03, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

In no way is she a bobo. She's clearly only a clueless bo.

Posted by Boho on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

I thought the whole story was much ado about nothing. Of course, yes, if someone actually stole her purse and phone, then they should be prosecuted and held to full account. But, the whole thing had the feel of a staged event, like the front page Guardian story about the fake "tech worker" jumping off a Google shuttle bus to give an Ebenezer Scrooge-like speech about the poor who turned out to be an Oakland political activist.

Even if the event wasn't staged, it has been blown way out of proportion. In a nut shell, a hipster goes into a hipster bar and some other over-priviliged hipsters allegedly get upset that she is recording them with her expensive gadget? Yeah, right. I would be a millionaire if I had a penny for every time I see someone with their smart phone taking pictures or making a video in a bar or restaurant, and no one ever bats an eye. Who cares if someone used their silly "Google Glasses" to do the same thing? And "ruining the city?" It's a bit rich to hear hipsters throwing out that allegation when they themselves helped "ruin" the character of whatever neighborhood (the Mission, etc.) they colonized before the latest tech boom. The article in the Chronicle about the tech worker displacement forum at Virgil's Sea Room was also a laugh. In the pictures, aside from the captions, you cannot tell the tech workers from the "housing activists." A room full of bored looking people wearing expensive but very sloppy-looking clothes (both "activists" and tech workers alike) grandstanding and talking things to death. Good grief, assign all those folks to a local not-for-profit to volunteer if they really all have that much free time on their hands. And, in the middle of it all, David Campos, looking like some aging yuppie hipster reading a speech about gentrification from his smart phone--the irony of it all.

As for this Google Glass "brawl," enough about it already. Report on some real news. Doesn't anyone at SFBG or the Chronicle remember what that is?

Posted by Chris Brown on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 9:33 pm

Don't use words if you don't understand what they mean.

Posted by Hepcat on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 12:57 pm

I used the word "hipster" as it is currently used. I wasn't referring to 1940's area hot Jazz fans.

Posted by Chris Brown on Mar. 02, 2014 @ 6:04 pm

I posted this once before (don't mean to spam), but in case others missed it (since it sort of got buried):

Google Employees Confess The Worst Things About Working At Google

Many of the engineers are arrogant.

I especially noticed the arrogance, immaturity, drinking at all hours (on the job?...WTF?):

>>>"It's like never-never land - people never grow up. They drink at all hours, socialize constantly, play games, and do little to no work."<<<

And this (ugh):

Googlers treat temps with disrespect.

Assholes. You should treat your temps with respect.

All this explains a lot about the immature techies and their snooty and snotty "I'm better than you" attitude as they take over San Francisco. I would point out that people who are secure with themselves are not arrogant, no matter what they've accomplished or are doing. People who are secure with themselves are modest and humble. Arrogance is a sign of an insecure person with many "issues," usually requiring psychotherapy to deal with.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 10:12 pm

It is kind of funny how as I was reading this article I actually
anticipated someone giving your response. How someone would feel
free to make this more than the “personal responsibility”
argument and make it about Left/right politics, and about the now
famous “haves and have nots” argument which has become so common
when discussing anything San Francisco.

For a “native” you are not so smart.

San Francisco has not been ruined, it is simply changing, and
just recently have the Citizens noticed that all of this change is
not necessarily good. Some of us fourth generetion San Franciscans
do not like the added density which development brings, and are
concerned that the very nature of our neighborhoods is getting away
from what we love about our City. Even Techie newcomers are
learning that one of the reasons they love it here is the very nature
of our culture, and if you do not see the change happening, the
negative changes... you are not so smart.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 11:15 am

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