Radio show “This American Life” announced Friday (March 15) that it is retracting a story about author and performer Mike Daisey’s trip to a Foxconn factory that manufactures iPhones and iPads in China.
Host Ira Glass writes, “We’ve learned that Mike Daisey’s story about Apple in China — which we broadcast in January — contained significant fabrications. We’re retracting the story because we can’t vouch for its truth.”
The episode, “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory,” excerpted from Daisey’s one-man show, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” aired January 6 and detailed harsh working conditions in a Shenzhen factory where workers assemble Apple products.
Reaction to the broadcast was massive and swift with it quickly becoming the most popular podcast in “This American Life” history, with 888,000 downloads and 206,000 streams to date. It also inspired a Change.org petition, garnering more than 250,000 signatures demanding ethical treatment of the factory workers.
Daisey posted this to his own blog in response to the retraction:
“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.”