Mike Daisey Issues Apology After Agony and the Ecstasy Media Storm
By Adam Hetrick
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs monologist Mike Daisey issued an apology to theatre audiences for fabricating information in his piece about conditions in Chinese technology factories.
"When I said onstage that I had personally experienced things I in fact did not, I failed to honor the contract I’d established with my audiences over many years and many shows. In doing so, I not only violated their trust, I also made worse art," Daisey said on his official website.
Daisey's statement comes after his January appearance as a guest on "This American Life," which prompted NPR "Marketplace" China Correspondent Rob Schmitz to contact Daisey's Chinese translator to substantiate Daisey's personal stories of his encounters with laborers. The translator disputed portions of the information Daisey presented, including claims that he visited a factory in Suzhou and his gripping account of a factory laborer who sees a working iPad for the first time.
"This American Life" later retracted its story with Daisey, prompting a nationwide media firestorm.
Daisey also addressed a recent panel discussion about the controversy, held at the Public Theater where The Agony and the Ecstasy recently concluded a return engagement.
"I listened to a podcast of the discussion some of my colleagues had a few nights ago discussing 'Truth in Theater' —and what a thing it was not to be there, to have been asked not to come, and what a strange feeling to know that it was my trespasses that had made the conversation necessary in the first place," Daisey wrote.
"But also, what a gift: to just be able to sit and listen, and to hear these people I so respect discuss these issues with intelligence and humor, and to hear the civility they extended my way even when they took serious issue with some of the choices I have made.
"It made me reflect upon how lucky I have been to call the theater my home all these years, the only place I can imagine this kind of discourse happening. It made me grateful for the great privilege it has been to be able to call myself a storyteller and to have audiences come and listen to what I have to say, to extend their trust to me. I am sorry I was careless with that trust. For this, I would like to apologize to my audiences."
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