Mike Daisey, the writer and performer who was widely discredited after parts of his story about Apple factory conditions in China turned out to be fabricated, is back with a new monologue that's already causing outrage before it's even been performed.
The show is about "how our world is built on the subjugation and ownership of women, and how men perpetuate that violence every day," according to a press release. "Daisey doesn’t try to speak for women—instead he interrogates his own history and choices."
Daisey, a man, originally titled the piece "Yes All Women" as a clear homage to the pro-woman hashtag. (He later changed it to "Yes This Man.") The piece is a "big one" about "women, men, the painful truth, and every man's complicity," the author said on Twitter, saying he is not "mansplaining."
And yet, the backlash has already begun.
LOL TORNADO RED ALERT: BEARDED WHITE MAN DOES ONE MAN SHOW ABOUT THE SUBJUGATION OF WOMEN GLOBALLY. http://t.co/HdLyw9LLg8— MADDD GRRRL (@MADDDGRRRL) June 18, 2014
how about a huge helping of HELL NO. http://t.co/GUHKC8UpsU— Barbara Ellingson (@MrsTomSauter) June 18, 2014
Daisey's best-known project, "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," was highly controversial: first, because it was an indictment of consumerism and a critique of one of America's most maniacally worshipped companies, and second, because many details of Daisey's alleged trip to an iPad factory turned out to be made up.
@LisaMcIntire "Mike Daisey: Expanding His Lie Repertoire From 'Chinese People' to 'Women'"— Mark Popham (@markpopham) June 18, 2014
The phrase "yes all women," was a reaction to the stock "not all men" rebuttal to feminist arguments. #YesAllWomen gained traction after misogynistic 22-year-old Elliot Rodger went on a shooting spree in California.
How many haters did not even read the show description for YES ALL WOMEN? Pretty much all. https://t.co/h41lJnRwoU— Mike Daisey (@mdaisey) June 18, 2014
Daisey's show will be funny and dark, according to press materials. It's unclear what personal experience Daisey plans to draw on, or whether his monologue is fact or fiction. But as someone with a history of foot in mouth disease, diving into a feminist narrative closely tied to a recent tragedy seems a bit fraught. The show opens next week in New York.
Update, 3:45PM: Daisey tells The Verge his show is not "explaining anything," it's only his own experience. He also says the show is also "created extemporaneously" and "that’s the main reason I didn’t go into great detail" about what the monologue is about. Addressing his Twitter critics, the writer said the backlash is from a vocal minority.
Update, 6:43PM: The name of the show has been changed from "Yes All Women" to "Yes This Man," a suggestion from one of Daisey's Twitter critics. Daisey published a blog post apologizing and explaining the name change.
"I had thought that since I never used the actual hashtag, I would be commenting on and exploring the space opened up by #yesallwomen, but I never wanted people to feel their voices were being co-opted and silenced," he writes. "I’ve chosen to call the show YES THIS MAN not just because it better reflects what I aim to discuss in the monologue, but also because it is simply a better title."