Mr. Daisey and his misrepresentation

Before I express my reaction to Mr. Daisey’s discussion about Apple, I would like to state that upon further research, it has come to my attention that Daisey embellished his experiences in Shenzhen and was not entirely factual with his story. Daisey publicly admitted that he said things onstage that he did not personally experience. After discovering this, it changed my view on Mike Daisey’s credibility. However, Daisey’s intent was to shed light on human rights violations in Chinese Foxconn factories, and in that area he succeeded.

First and foremost, Daisey captivated me. Although I could not see him, I could feel his presence through his oration.  As I listened to Mr. Daisey’s podcast, two things particularly intrigued me: the blatant human rights violations in Foxconn manufacturing centers, and Apple’s blatant disregard for these conditions. Putting aside Daisey’s misrepresentation, his account of poor labor conditions unwillingly provoked a sense of guilt within me for enjoying my iPhone and my iPad and all of their capabilities, while the individuals making these products work up to 16 hours a day. I do not believe Daisey’s purpose was to impose a sense of guilt on his audience but rather a sense of awareness. Following his description of the Foxconn factory and the opinions of Foxconn workers, Daisey inquires: “Do you really think that Apple doesn’t know? In a company obsessed with the details… or do they just see what they want to see.” This quote resonated in my mind and forced me to pause the podcast to think and to ask rhetorical questions of my own: Does Apple care about its Foxconn workers or does Apple just care about profits? Do I care about the treatment of Apple’s Foxconn workers or do I just care that my iPhone loads Facebook fast enough?

Daisey wants to start this conversation; he wants his audience to ask questions. Between the worker suicides and disfigured hands and fingers, there is clearly a problem with Apple’s manufacturing. But what is being done to change these conditions? Daisey shared that when auditors come in to inspect the facility, the managers replace workers as young as 13 years old with elderly workers, to hide their youth employees. Apple should – and must – take a more active role in offering a safer environment that adheres to international labor laws. Apple can design cutting-edge and innovative products, but it cannot stop a 13 year old girl from piecing together an iPhone in its manufacturing plant. This is the issue.


6 responses to “Mr. Daisey and his misrepresentation

  1. To start, I liked that you went above and beyond to do your own research about Daisey’s credibility. As someone who was also captivated by Daisy’s story, I am slightly disappointed to hear that embellishment was involved. Your selected quote about how Apple was so detailed oriented that there was no way they were ignoring these violations was one that really stood out to me as well. Up until that point in Daisy’s story I was defending Apple, especially after hearing about the actions taken by Foxconn to hide underage workers like shifting around workers who would be seen by inspectors taken by Foxconn. But with how quickly Daisey noticed underage workers simply when he showed up, and how involved Apple must be in the production process due to their desire for perfection, my naïvety ended and I realized that Apple must be turning a blind eye towards these violations.


  2. Thank you for presenting a contradicting piece of evidence. I likewise find this disappointing after enjoying Daisey’s insightful narrative. But if “damage was done to Apple or Foxconn” as his critics assert, I think they may be a good thing. Corporations, Apple especially, need to be more transparent. Investigative reports (even if flawed) are needed to moderated the impact of flashy media campaigns that work as smoke and mirrors which hide the actual practices of a business.


  3. While I still believe that Daisey’s presentation was extremely powerful and has the right intentions, thank you for reminding us all that anyone can write down anything on a piece of paper and claim to have witnessed it. Part of the reason Apple escapes under the radar from all this negative press is because they have the press in their pockets. There are certain tech review sites that have not been able to shut up about the new iPhone 6 and how amazing it is with all it’s new features and hardware that they have had the capability include in their phones since 2012 (and other companies like Samsung and Nexus have). There are plenty of honest tech review sites out there it is just that the most popular ones are the ones praising Apple. it seems like too big of a coincidence to me to not suspect some money is being exchanged.


  4. Your quote about Apple’s apparent acknowledgement and subsequent ignorance of the situation in Foxconn really raised some important questions about the company. Whether or not Daisey’s story was embellished, there are clearly some human rights violations at the factory that makes all of our Apple products. The fact that a company as detail oriented as Apple could overlook something that a reporter discovered so easily is frightening. It seems that Apple is choosing profit over people and setting a very poor example for all other major companies out there.


  5. The issue of masking unethical practices is not one solely restricted to Apple. Most large corporations would choose profitability over corporate responsibility, and many are also guilty of altering their reports before they are released. However, as consumers now have access to almost limitless information via the Internet, there has been a recent shift towards increasingly transparent company data. As a driver of innovation, and with such a massive loyal customer base, Apple should have been one of the first tech companies to adopt this new philosophy. Although Daisey might not have been entirely truthful in his accounts, he managed to draw attention to an issue that had gone unrecognized for years. It appears we are still far from a solution, but identifying a problem is the first step in resolving it.


  6. I found it very interesting when you questioned the credibility behind some of the things Daisey said. I am intrigued to find out if this is actually true, and if it is, what he embellished. Besides this, I agree with your comment about how Apple can create cutting-edge and innovative products, but cannot stop a 13 year old girl from assembling it. In my post I mentioned how Apple has the resources necessary to avoid these issues, yet they simply refuse to. Replacing the younger workers with elderly ones when people come to audit them just seems so unnecessary for a company like Apple and I hope they are able to figure out a better way to run their factories.


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