updated 05:25 pm EDT, Mon March 19, 2012
Daisey promises 'full accounting' of monologue
Foxconn won't sue over the retracted This American Life episode painting a grim portrait of working conditions at the company, according to spokesman Simon Hsing. "Our corporate image has been totally ruined. The point is whatever media that cited the program should not have reported it without confirming (with us)," Hsing tells Reuters, while adding that "We have no plans to take legal action...We hope nothing similar will happen again."
The company is, however, continuing to be criticized for its labor standards. A workers' rights group, China Labour Bulletin, says that workers are still suffering under problems like long hours, poor safety, and nigh-on abusive management. "All those things are very much in place. I don't think there's been any alleviation (of these problems) in the past few months. I don't think Foxconn's done anything, really," says Crothall.
While complaints about dehumanizing conditions at Foxconn predate it, the Mike Daisey monologue featured in the American Life episode is often credited with forcing Apple's hand, allowing outside inspections of suppliers. Daisey has adopted a defensive stance in the face of criticism, and today made a new blog post to back up his position. He accuses the latest American Life episode -- featuring the artist -- of having "four hours of grilling edited down to fifteen minutes," with deliberate use of "dead air" plus a conclusion "with audio pulled out of context from my performance."
He charges some critics with implying he fabricated a nightmare scenario. "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," he writes.
"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 [Glass] 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," Daisey goes on.
He nevertheless stands by an apology. "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," he concludes.