This American Life retracts Mike Daisey's Apple story, cancels Chicago Theatre engagement
WBEZ's This American Life is disavowing Mike Daisey's monologue The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, of which the radio program broadcast a version in a January episode. Daisey's live performance at the , scheduled for April 7 and sponsored by WBEZ and TAL, has been canceled.
Daisey's monologue, which he's currently performing in an encore run at New York's Public Theater, details his visit to a Foxconn facility in Shenzhen, China, that manufactures numerous products for Apple and other electronics outfits. Daisey outlines horrific working conditions at the plant and describes meeting a number of individual workers; This American Life now says a number of those encounters were fabricated. Also in January, The New York Times ran a series of investigative stories about manufacturing practices at Apple's contracted facilities overseas.
In a statement, TAL host Ira Glass said, "We didn't think that he was lying to us and to audiences about the details of his story. That was a mistake." This American Life is devoting its entire episode this week, airing at 7pm Central tonight on WBEZ, to detailing what it says are Daisey's numerous fabrications.
Daisey posted a statement on his blog that reads in part, "I stand by my work…It uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story, and I believe it does so with integrity…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."