Foxconn seems to be happy about the news late last week that Mike Daisy’s monologue about his Foxconn ‘findings’ was mostly fabricated from news reports.
In a statement to Businessweek, Louis Woo, spokesman for Taipei-based Foxconn said:
“I am happy that the truth prevails, I am glad that Mike Daisey’s lies were exposed. But I don’t think that the reports about this have gone far enough to find out what exactly is the truth. People will have the impression that Foxconn is a bad company, so I hope they will come and find out for themselves,”
Daisey was exposed via an NPR reporter that contacted his translator Cathey Lee who denied just about every part of Daisey’s story. Daisey, for his part, responded:
I stand by my work. My show is a theatrical piece whose goal is to create a human connection between our gorgeous devices and the brutal circumstances from which they emerge. It uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story, and I believe it does so with integrity. Certainly, the comprehensive investigations undertaken by The New York Times and a number of labor rights groups to document conditions in electronics manufacturing would seem to bear this out.
Daisey has been forced to stop his show but did receive a standing ovation following its last performance this weekend.
Critics of Foxconn say that they aren’t off the hook.
Update: Daisy has a new blog post out with this:
—another American monologistMany consider this week’s THIS AMERICAN LIFE episode one of the most painful they’ve ever listened to. In particular the segment with me is excruciating—four hours of grilling edited down to fifteen minutes. I thought the dead air was a nice touch, and finishing the episode with audio pulled out of context from my performance was masterful.
That’s Ira’s choice, and it’s his show. He’s a storyteller within the context of radio journalism, and I am a storyteller in the theater.
In the last forty-eight hours I have been equated with Stephen Glass, James Frey, and Greg Mortenson. Given the tenor of the condemnation, you would think I had concocted an elaborate, fanciful universe filled with furnaces in which babies are burned to make iPhone components, or that I never went to China, never stood outside the gates of Foxconn, never pretended to be a businessman to get inside of factories, never spoke to any workers.
Especially galling is how many are gleefully eager to dance on my grave expressly so they can return to ignoring everything about the circumstances under which their devices are made. Given the tone, you would think I had fabulated an elaborate hoax, filled with astonishing horrors that no one had ever seen before.
Except that we all know that isn’t true.
There is nothing in this controversy that contests the facts in my work about the nature of Chinese manufacturing. Nothing. I think we all know if there was, Ira would have brought it up.
You certainly don’t need to listen to me. Read the New York Times reporting. Listen to the NPR piece that ran just last week in which workers at an iPad plant go on record saying the plant was inspected by Apple just hours before it exploded, and that the inspection lasted all of ten minutes.
If you think this story is bigger than that story, something is wrong with your priorities.
If people want to use me as an excuse to return to denialism about the state of our manufacturing, about the shape of our world, they are doing that to themselves.
To radio listeners: I apologized in this week’s episode to anyone who felt betrayed. I stand by that apology. But understand that if you felt something that connected you with where your devices come from—that is not a lie. That is art. That is human empathy, and it is real, and even if you curse my name I hope you’ll recognize that and continue reading, caring, and thinking.
To my audiences: It’s you that I owe the most to. I want you all to know that I will not go silent—I will be making a full accounting of this work, shining a light through this monologue and telling the story of its origins, construction, and details.
I believe the truth is vitally important. I continue to believe that. I believe that I will answer for the things I have done. I told Ira that story should always be subordinate to the truth, and I still believe that. Sometimes I fall short of that goal, but I will never stop trying to achieve it.