The creator and stars of the popular Netflix show “Beef” have reacted to criticism of cast member David Choe. Choe has been criticized again for a 2014 podcast interview in which he joked about being a “successful rapist” during a massage.
“Beef” creator Lee Sung Jin, along with executive producers and stars Steven Yeun and Ali Wong, sent a statement to Variety on Friday. They said that Choe’s story was “undeniably hurtful and very disturbing,” but that he “worked hard to get the mental health help he needed.”
“There’s no doubt that the story David Choe made up nine years ago is cruel and very upsetting. We don’t agree with this story in any way, and we understand why it’s so upsetting and painful.
They said, “We know David has apologized before for making up this horrible story, and we’ve seen him work hard over the last 10 years to get the mental health help he needed to get better and learn from his mistakes.”
Choe told co-host Asa Akira a sexually explicit story about a massage he got from a masseuse he calls Rose. The story was from an episode of the “DVDASA” podcast from 2014.
“Just telling this story gets me excited,” he said in the video. “All I do is grab her hand and put it on my dick. She doesn’t do anything.” Choe described several sexual acts and ended the story by saying, “The thrill of possibly going to jail, that’s what got the erection quest.”
Akira said, “Ew, you’re basically telling us that you’re a rapist now and that the only way to get your dick really hard is to rape.” Choe said, “Yeah,” and then answered the other guests’ questions about Rose’s looks.
“What the hell is wrong with you guys?” Akira asked. “What does it matter how she looks? Dave is telling us that he raped women. In reply, he made a joke and said, “A successful rapist.”
Choe’s first response to the backlash came in 2014. He said in a statement that he wasn’t a rapist and that the podcast was “a complete extension of his art” as a storyteller.
“I never thought I’d wake up in the middle of the afternoon and hear that people were calling me a rapist. It’s bad. Even more so since I’m not one. I am not a rapist. He said at the time, “I hate rapists, and I think they should be raped and killed.”
“I am an artist and a storyteller, and I see my show “DVDASA” as a full extension of my art. If I’m guilty of anything, it’s telling bad stories in a douchey way. People often get the wrong idea from my work, and the same is true of my show.
All of my shows are meant to challenge and annoy my friends and co-stars on the show. We make fun of each other, have fun with each other, and laugh at each other. It’s a dark, crass, and totally disrespectful show where we mess with everyone watching, but mostly with ourselves.
We make up stories and share them. It’s not a show about the news. It doesn’t show what my life is like. It’s not a good place to find out accurate things about me or my life. It’s my view of how things are, and as art, it can sometimes make people feel bad.
If anyone thought the stories were true, I’m sorry. They didn’t! There are a lot of bad people in the world, so thank God for us.” He apologized again and made a statement in 2017 that said, “I have never assaulted a woman.”
I’m very sorry if I’ve hurt anyone with my words in the past.” He also said that he had spent three years recovering and getting better.
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Clips of the “DVDASA” podcast started showing up again on Twitter last week, but some of them were taken down after Choe’s David Young Choe Foundation seems to have filed DMCA warnings on their behalf.
The Twitter videos were called “copyright infringing media” in the DMCA complaints, which asked for their “immediate” removal. When “Beef” came out on Netflix on April 6, it quickly moved up to the No. 2 spot on Netflix’s list of the Top 10 English-language shows.
In its second week on the market, it was watched for more than 70 million hours. Choe plays Danny’s older, often-incarcerated cousin Isaac, who is on the other side of the screen from Yeun and Wong.
Choe is a painter and artist, and he made the title cards for nine shows. The “Beef” team’s remark was first reported by Vanity Fair.