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Foxconn won't sue over This American Life episode

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. thinkman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sue the fat man's a** off!

    I think Daisey should be sued by Apple - first and foremost. Apple, being the big dog, is so often shat upon by fools like this lying pig. His B.S. about "Theater" is the most inane, despicable excuse for perpetuating such malfeasance. It's wrong, and he should be punished for the damage he did. My real hope is that sociopaths, such as Daisey, would quickly fade away from public view. The amount of coverage he received with his lies far outweighs even NPR's noble effort to bring out the truth. During Ira Glass' (thank you Mr. Hold No Punches) interview with Daisey, the man continued to lie. Thus he is a SOCIOPATH!

  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Of course Foxconn won't sute -

    no need to draw even more attention to an ugly subject.

    Bet they got "advice" from every electronics company thy produce equipment for. Apple might be the largest, but it's just the tip of the iceberg...

  1. AlenShapiro

    Joined: Dec 1969


    "Corporate Image"...

    "Our corporate image has been totally ruined"

    No, honestly, please take my word for it... it hasn't been :-)

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    just this one time

    Arne speaks the truth. Apple is far, far from the only company making electronics in Chinese factory sweatshops. But only Apple gets mentioned by self-righteous fools or jealous losers looking to bash Apple for any reason at all.

    Something else to keep in mind - while Chinese workers should indeed have humane working conditions, remember that their alternative is to work (and starve) on a farm in rural China. Working in a factory is a big step up for many of them.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Big Fat

    Liar. How about you and Rush Limbaugh do a road show, Mr. Fairey. Maybe he'll share his illegal Viagra and hillbilly heroin with you.

  1. elroth

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Nobody will sue anyone over this. Apple or Foxconn will not want evidence in court of underage workers, forced overtime, etc. The worst accusations of Daisey may not be true, but the factory conditions are nothing to be proud of. Abuses still go on, just not the over-the-top accusations, and it's definitely not just Apple factories.

    I do believe Apple is addressing the problems (much more than other companies are), but whatever they do, it will not be solved right away.

  1. shigmas

    Joined: Dec 1969


    cry wolf

    Daisey doesn't realize how much he's screwed the Foxconn workers.

    Exaggerating and lying about a problem, and then having those lies uncovered destroys his whole argument. Workers are being exploited at Foxconn, but, now, the the mistreatment is "not as bad as that guy said it was".

    So, now, the general public ends up not caring much less than the would have if he was actually telling the truth.

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