Daisey Apologizes for Fabrications
Published: Monday, March 19, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 11:03
Author and actor Mike Daisey apologized Monday for misrepresenting information in his monologue performance “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” the content of which was recently found to be fabricated.
Despite admitting to falsifying his descriptions of working conditions at Apple factories in China, Daisey argued in his talk in Lohrfink Auditorium that his mistakes should not detract from the importance of discussing such issues.
“Mike Daisey: A Hammer With Which To Shape It,” sponsored by the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, The Lecture Fund and Students of Georgetown, Inc., was originally intended to discuss art and the human voice in the global labor struggle.
“When we invited Daisey here, we wanted him to help us think about the power we have to make what is invisible visible, to give voice to the voiceless,” Jennifer Luff, the research director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative, said.
However, the event instead largely focused on the recent controversy surrounding Daisey’s monologue. While Daisey’s topic of discussion was altered by circumstances, he still highlighted the importance of discussing factory conditions throughout the world.
“The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” is based on Daisy’s travels to Foxconn, an Apple factory in China, last spring. During a performance on Public Radio International’s “This American Life,” Daisey said he witnessed guards with guns outside the gates of the factory, spoke with a 13-year-old factory worker and her friends and let another worker with an injured hand hold his iPad. However, all three incidents have since been exposed as false.
Daisey opened the event by admitting that the controversy constituted his first scandal. Incorporating humor into his talk, he acknowledged his feeling of discomfort about speaking on the subject, but promised to tell his story openly.
“If I am naked, then I am free because I am actually an independent artist. I don’t belong to any corporation … and I am not afraid,” he said.
Daisey said his nontraditional reporting method ultimately exacerbated the controversy surrounding his monologue, because others were unable to fact check his notes or interview transcriptions.
“I create stories the way I created this story,” he said. “I tell them to people, out loud in front of them. I don’t script in any way. I don’t take notes.”
Despite the fabrications, Daisey maintained that the story had the intended effect.
“I wanted the story to live. I wanted it to reach people and shake them awake,” he said. “I honestly believe here and now that it was the right thing to do. Nobody checks what’s happening in China, and that was fact checked.”