Mike Daisey finally apologized for making up much of his Foxconn monologue, without blaming the media for perpetuating his lies or the audience for not understanding the context, but his mea culpa comes too late to salvage the harm he's done to his own cause. Daisey's latest statement on his blog is straightforward, humble, and sounds like a heartfelt apology: "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 goes on to sincerely apologize to his theater colleagues, the journalists he spoke to, and the human rights campaigners whose cause he undermined.
But it still falls short because he didn't give this apology on This American Life's "Retraction" episode, when he was given the same platform he got to spread his falsehoods. And he didn't say it last week, when the national conversation reacted to This American Life's retraction show. He's saying it now, but the harm to Daisey's own cause against mistreatment in Apple's supply line has already started. In one small example, on Monday a new petition started circulating on Change.org, calling for a retraction of the petition that started after his This American Life show. Not many people have signed the new petition -- 364 vs the 255,000 or so who signed the original petition against Apple, largely because The New York Times report that followed Daisey's bore out some of his claims -- but it's a sign that at least some of those originally inspired by Daisey now feel betrayed by him, and that they don't stand by the activist work he fraudulently inspired.