Mike Daisey Theatrical Apple/Foxconn Critic Turns On Chinese Translator After Increased Pressure
By John Pike
Mike Daisey, who famously took aim at technology giant, Apple and their supply chain in China, then admitted he fabricated many of the details, now claims that the translator who exposed the holes in his story lacks credibility.
Daisey made his name with his one-man theatrical show “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs”, exposing horrific working conditions at Foxconn factories in China that supply many of Apple’s products.
The play inspired much public concern about how popular products like the iPad and the iPhone are produced.
Daisey claimed to have seen first hand child labor as young as 12, people whose hands have been destroyed by performing repetitive tasks, and workers poisoned by n-hexane—an iPhone screen cleaner that causes neurological damage.
He also described how his stay in China coincided with the peak of Foxconn worker suicides, with employees so desperate that the suicides were happening daily.
The trouble is, it turns out Daisey didn't see many of these things at all. The radio show “This American Life” which adapted Daisey's show at the beginning of the year, on Friday retracted the report, stating that Daisey had lied to them.
The Chinese translator who accompanied Daisey on his visits to Foxconn factories has discredited many of his claims.
Daisy published an apology on his blogsite on Friday stating, “What I do is not journalism. The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism. For this reason, I regret that I allowed ‘This American Life’ to air an excerpt from my monologue. ‘This American Life’ is essentially a journalistic—not a theatrical—enterprise, and as such it operates under a different set of rules and expectations. But this is my only regret.”
Apple's own audits reveal discovering underage workers at its suppliers, independent researchers have long maintained the occurrence of poisoning by n-hexane, and the spate of Foxconn suicides has been well documented.
Unfortunately, Daisey’s failure to follow journalistic ethics of integrity and honesty, has damaged the cause of drawing more criticism and action on Apple and the associated OEM’s with manufacturing facilities inside China such as Foxconn.