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NPR Retracts Stunning Apple Story

March 16, 2012 by staff 

NPR Retracts Stunning Apple Story, The public radio show “This American Life” has retracted an entire storyline told by comedian and self-described Apple “fanboy” Mike Daisey that aired in early January after Daisey’s translator said he made up significant details of the tale.

In a press release, the show says the episode was the most popular in its history and was downloaded 888,000 times. The episode also sparked a petition for Apple to improve its working conditions that was signed by a quarter of a million people.

Daisey said in the 39-minute episode that he became curious about the conditions of Chinese factories where Apple products are made after he discovered photos of factory workers that were left onto his iPhone by mistake. He traveled to the factories in Shenzhen, China, and interviewed workers there, who told him they endured terrible working conditions. Daisey described meeting workers whose hands were shaking after they were poisoned with the neurotoxin hexane and meeting several children right at the gates of the factory who were as young as 12.

The China correspondent for the NPR show Marketplace, Rob Schmitz, wrote that he decided to track down Daisey’s translator after he found it suspicious for Daisey to ferret out some of the worst labor abuses reporters have been hunting for years in a six-day trip to the site. Translator Cathy Lee told Schmitz that she never saw the underage or poisoned workers, and that she also never saw armed factory guards, which Daisey describes.

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