This American Life retracts Mike Daisey's Apple story, cancels Chicago Theatre engagement

Mike Daisey

Mike Daisey Photograph: Chris Bennion

WBEZ's This American Life is disavowing Mike Daisey's monologue The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, of which the radio program broadcast a version in a January episode. Daisey's live performance at the Chicago Theatre, scheduled for April 7 and sponsored by WBEZ and TAL, has been canceled.

Daisey's monologue, which he's currently performing in an encore run at New York's Public Theater, details his visit to a Foxconn facility in Shenzhen, China, that manufactures numerous products for Apple and other electronics outfits. Daisey outlines horrific working conditions at the plant and describes meeting a number of individual workers; This American Life now says a number of those encounters were fabricated. Also in January, The New York Times ran a series of investigative stories about manufacturing practices at Apple's contracted facilities overseas.

In a statement, TAL host Ira Glass said, "We didn't think that he was lying to us and to audiences about the details of his story. That was a mistake." This American Life is devoting its entire episode this week, airing at 7pm Central tonight on WBEZ, to detailing what it says are Daisey's numerous fabrications.

Daisey posted a statement on his blog that reads in part, "I stand by my work…It uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story, and I believe it does so with integrity…What I do is not journalism. The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism. For this reason, I regret that I allowed This American Life to air an excerpt from my monologue. This American Life is essentially a journalistic—not a theatrical—enterprise, and as such it operates under a different set of rules and expectations. But this is my only regret."

Update: The full audio and written transcript of Friday's This American Life episode are now online.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)