The Cutline

Mike Daisey slams critics, calls ‘This American Life’ story on him ‘excruciating’

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Daisey (Public Theater)

Mike Daisey, the monologist whose "This American Life" story about Apple's use of Chinese sweatshops was retracted last week, criticized host Ira Glass and the show's producers for taking audio from his stage show "out of context" and editing much of his defense out of the program.

"Many consider this week's 'This American Life' episode one of the most painful they've ever listened to," Daisey wrote on his personal blog. "The segment with me is excruciating—four hours of grilling edited down to fifteen minutes. I thought the dead air was a nice touch, and finishing the episode with audio pulled out of context from my performance was masterful. That's Ira's choice, and it's his show. He's a storyteller within the context of radio journalism, and I am a storyteller in the theater."

Daisey, whose off-Broadway show, "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," ended its New York run over the weekend, slammed critics who compared him to infamous modern fabricators.

"In the last forty-eight hours I have been equated with Stephen Glass, James Frey, and Greg Mortenson," Daisey wrote. "Given the tenor of the condemnation, you would think I had concocted an elaborate, fanciful universe filled with furnaces in which babies are burned to make iPhone components, or that I never went to China, never stood outside the gates of Foxconn, never pretended to be a businessman to get inside of factories, never spoke to any workers.

"Especially galling," he continued, "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. Except that we all know that isn't true."

"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 would have brought it up," Daisey added. "If you think this story is bigger than that story, something is wrong with your priorities."

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