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‘Douche du Jour’: Days After Foxconn Workers Threaten Mass Suicide, Company CEO Terry Gou Calls Them “Animals”

The chief executive of the world’s largest manufacturer of electronic components has apologized after referring to his employees as “animals.”

Agence France-Presse reports that Terry Gou, billionaire CEO of Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn, was quoted by Taiwanese media outlets as saying “I have a headache how to manage one million animals” at the company’s year-end party at the Taipei Zoo.

Foxconn is the largest contract electronics manufacturer in the world, supplying parts for products like the Apple i-Phone, Amazon Kindle and Microsoft Xbox, just to name a few. The company employs a million Chinese workers, some of whom staged a protest earlier this month in which they threatened to kill themselves over a dispute over pay and working conditions.

The New York Times reported that there was a “wave of suicides” by desperate workers at multiple Foxconn plants in 2010.

The company released a statement over the weekend to apologize to “anyone who feels offended” by Gou’s remarks, which Foxconn insists were taken out of context by the media.

“Gou is aware that the media reports are misleading and offensive and he apologizes to anyone who feels offended. However, Gou did not deliberately slander the workers as some media described,” the company claims.

Gou, who founded Hon Hai Precision Industry, Foxconn’s parent company, in 1974, is currently ranked #179 on Forbes’ 2011 list of the world’s richest individuals, with an estimated net worth of $5.7 billion. According to Daily Tech, in 2010 the entry-level wage for a Foxconn employee was 900 yuan ($131.80) a month.

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