Radio show on Apple's Chinese workers is retracted

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 16, 2012 5:19 PM
Radio show on Apple's Chinese workers is retracted

By Ronald Grover

(Reuters) - The U.S. radio program "This American Life" has retracted an episode critical of working conditions at a Chinese factory that makes iPhones and iPads for Apple Inc, saying it had contained "numerous fabrications."

Friday night's edition of the program, which is produced by Chicago radio station WBEZ and distributed by Public Radio International, would detail errors in the story that described working conditions at a Foxconn Technology factory in Shenzhen, China, the producers said.

The retracted episode, which aired on January 6, relied for some of its information on a one-man theatrical show by actor Mike Daisey: "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs."

"Daisey lied to me and to This American Life producer Brian Reed," Ira Glass, the program's host and executive producer, said in an emailed statement.

Rob Schmitz, a correspondent for American Public Media's Marketplace, contacted Daisey's Chinese interpreter, Li Guiden, who disputed much of what the actor had been telling audiences since 2010 and what he said on the radio program, the statement said.

Apple warned the producers about the show before it aired, according to a source with knowledge of the conversation.

Apple was contacted while the show was being researched and denied its allegations, including that workers were poisoned on an iPhone assembly line by a chemical called n-hexane, the source said.

Apple has not commented publicly on the issue.

Saying "what I do it not journalism," Daisey defended his work in a blog: "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."

Daisey says he regrets that he allowed "This American Life" to air an excerpt from his monologue.

(Reporting by Ronald Grover; Editing by Gary Hill)