Foxconn Technology Group, the top maker of Apple Inc's iPhones and iPads, said on Monday it had no plans to take legal action over a U.S. radio program about its activity in China, parts of which have been retracted. But the company said the broadcast, which has generated public debate on journalistic ethics in the United States, had hurt its reputation.
The radio program “This American Life” last week retracted an episode critical of working conditions at a Chinese factory of Foxconn, saying it had contained “numerous fabrications”.
The retracted episode, broadcast on January 6, was based heavily on a one-man theatrical show by actor Mike Daisey: “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.”
“Our client is Apple Inc… Our corporate image has been totally ruined. The point is whatever media that cited the program should not have reported it without confirming (with us),” said Simon Hsing, Foxconn's spokesman.
No legal action
“We have no plans to take legal action… We hope nothing similar will happen again.”
Working practices at Foxconn's huge plants in China came under intense scrutiny in 2010 after a series of suicides among young workers. Last June three workers died in an explosion at a Foxconn plant in Chengdu, western China. Daisey's play and its attendant publicity, including the radio segment, have played a big role in pressuring Apple to allow outside inspectors at its contract manufacturing facilities in China, mostly owned by Foxconn Technology.
The executive producer of “This American Life” said in a broadcast last week that most of the retracted program's content was true and corroborated by independent investigation. The inaccuracies were linked to the actors' account of his trip to China.
Foxconn said recently it had raised wages of its Chinese workers by 16-25 percent from February, the third rise since 2010.
Apple, criticized over working conditions at its chain of suppliers in China, said last week that a U.S. non-profit labor group had begun an “unprecedented” inspection of working conditions at its main contract manufacturers.
Last month the New York Times published an investigation into working practices at Apple supplier's plants in China that documented poor health and safety conditions and long working hours.
At around 0340 GMT, shares of Hon Hai Precision, the group's listed flagship unit, slipped 1.9 percent. Foxconn is not listed as a group.
Other Apple supplier also were down, with Genius down 3 percent, while the main index sank 0.31 percent.