The Public Theater Issues Statement on Mike Daisey Controversy
Mike Daisey's THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS, which has celebrated sold-out and extended runs across the country and twice in New York, has been admittedly 'embellished.' Mike Daisey made a statement about the show's fabrications on THIS AMERICAN LIFE. Listen to the retraction here.
"In the theater, our job is to create fictions that reveal truth-- that's what a storyteller
does, that's what a dramatist does. THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE
JOBS reveals, as Mike's other monologues have, human truths in story form.
In this work, Mike uses a story to frame and lead debate about an important issue in a
deeply compelling way. He has illuminated how our actions affect people half-a-world
away and, in doing so, has spurred action to address a troubling situation. This is a
powerful work of art and exactly the kind of storytelling that The Public Theater has
supported, and will continue to support in the future.
Mike is an artist, not a journalist. Nevertheless, we wish he had been more precise
with us and our audiences about what was and wasn’t his personal experience in the
The public questioning began in January when a portion of Daisey's theatrical monologue aired on This American Life public radio broadcast. On January 6, the program ran “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory,” which included a 40-minute excerpt from The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, tailored and performed specifically for broadcast.
Within hours of its release, “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory” broke the record for most downloaded episode of This American Life, which is consistently the most popular podcast in the country. After hearing the broadcast, TAL listener Mark Shields was moved to start a petition calling for better working conditions, and soon delivered almost a quarter-million signatures to Apple. A week after the broadcast, Apple released its list of suppliers for the first time ever. In another first, the company also announced that it will start allowing an outside third party to check on working conditions at those factories, and to make its findings public. Twenty days after the broadcast, The New York Times ran a massive, front-page investigative report about Apple’s overseas manufacturing. A month and a half after the broadcast, Foxconn, the company that Daisey visited and chronicles in his show, announced a 25% salary increase for many workers.
Created and performed by Daisey and directed by Jean-Michele Gregory, Daisey endeavored to illuminate how the former CEO of Apple and his obsessions shape our lives, while following the trail all the way to China to investigate the factories where millions toil to make iPhones and iPods. Now in its second, extended run at The Public Theatre, Daisey is scheduled to perform through the weekend and play his final show on March 18. (Visit www.publictheater.org for more information).
For more on Daisey, visit www.mikedaisey.blogspot.com.