Monologuist Mike Daisey, we've all learned, is an excellent liar. Now, let's see what else Daisey has lied about in his decades-long career, besides many of the facts in his story about investigating Foxconn. Here's one.
Mike Daisey has been performing his monologues—a mix of memoir, reportage and social commentary—since the late 1990s. Before Foxconn, Mike Daisey took on Amazon in his 2001 monologue "21 Dog Years," which recalled his time working as an Amazon customer service rep in the '90s. But according to one of his former Amazon co-workers, Matthew Baldwin, the monologue was "truthy" at best—and Daisey stretched the truth to the breaking point at least once.
In his excellent blog post on Daisey, Baldwin describes how Daisey lied to a reporter about the amount of contact he had with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos:
In 2001 when he spoke about the show with The Seattle Weekly (which was on a weird anti-Amazon jihad at the time), the interview contained this exchange:
Seattle Weekly: How much did you really deal with Jeff, and have you heard anything from former co-workers about his reaction to the show?
Daisey: I saw Jeff all the time, almost every day.
I worked like 100 meters from Daisey, and saw Bezo maybe three times in as many years. Like I said: truthy.
In the context of an interview, "I saw Jeff all the time" is a lie, plain and simple.
Daisey turned his monologue into a book, 21 Dog Years: Doing Time at Amazon which, we imagine, is equally truthy.
This can't be Daisey's only other lie. (See this Boston Phoenix article about how he skillfully, but only slightly, misrepresented an encounter with a Christian school group to maximize its dramatic effect.) His 2009 monologue "The Last Cargo Cult," seems especially ripe for fabrication: It tells "the story of his journey to a remote South Pacific island whose people worship America and its cargo."
Daisey has claimed the "dramatic license" defense in the Foxconn case. Which would have almost been OK, had he kept his lies in the theater. But Mike Daisey has a long history of turning dramatic license into a marketing technique—lying to journalists and misleading his audience to pimp his truth-fiction swill. Let us know if you've come across any of Mike Daisey's other lies, large or small-or if you've seen "The Last Cargo Cult" or read "21 Dog Years"—in the comments Or email me: Adrian@gawker.com
[Image via Flickr/Aaron Webb]