The “Beef” producers are standing by actor David Choe.
Following the resurfacing of a viral 2014 podcast video during which Choe claimed to have assaulted a masseuse, Choe has allegedly been taking measures to prevent the clip from being shared on social media. Several Twitter users posted screenshots of a notice credited to Choe’s non-profit the Meleka Foundation threatening the legal right to prevent unauthorized sharing via the Digital Millennium Copyright Act citing copyright infringement.
“Beef” creator Lee Sung Jin and lead stars Ali Wong and Steven Yeun issued a statement to Vanity Fair.
“The story David Choe fabricated nine years ago is undeniably hurtful and extremely disturbing. We do not condone this story in any way, and we understand why this has been so upsetting and triggering,” they said. “We’re aware David has apologized in the past for making up this horrific story, and we’ve seen him put in the work to get the mental health support he needed over the last decade to better himself and learn from his mistakes.”
The clip of Choe’s former podcast “DVDASA” — an acronym for Double Vag, Double Anal, Sensitive Artist — includes Choe joking about a nonconsensual sexual encounter. During the interview in question, Choe tells adult film star and podcast co-host Asa Akira that he once forced a masseuse to perform oral sex on him.
“She’s not into it but she’s not stopping it either,” Choe said (via Vice). “I take the back of her head and push it down on my dick, and she doesn’t do it, and then I go ‘open your mouth’ and she does it, and then I start face fucking her.”
He continued: “With the rape stuff…I mean, I would have been in a lot of trouble right now if I put her hand on my dick and she’s like, ‘Fucking stop I’m gonna go call security.’ That would have been a much different story. But the thrill of possibly going to jail, that’s what achieved the erection quest…I just want to make it clear that I admit that that’s rapey behavior. But I am not a rapist.”
Choe issued a statement in 2014 clarifying the podcast remarks, claiming that the story was fabricated for the podcast as a “complete extension of my art.”
“If I am guilty of anything, it’s bad storytelling in the style of douche. Just like many of my paintings are often misinterpreted, the same goes with my show,” Choe said. “The main objective of all of my podcasts is to challenge and provoke my friends and the co-stars on the show. We fuck with each other, entertain ourselves and laugh at each other. It’s a dark, tasteless, completely irreverent show where we fuck with everyone listening, but mostly ourselves. We create stories and tell tales. It’s not a news show. It’s not a representation of my reality. It’s not the place to come for reliable information about me or my life. It’s my version of reality, it’s art that sometimes offends people. I’m sorry if anyone believed that the stories were fact. They were not! In a world full of horrible people, thank god for us.”
He continued in a separate 2017 post, “I relayed a story simply for shock value that made it seem as if I had sexually violated a woman. Though I said those words, I did not commit those actions. It did not happen. I have ZERO history of sexual assault. I am deeply sorry for any hurt I’ve brought to anyone through my past words…I was a sick person at the height of my mental illness, and have spent the last 3 years in mental health facilities healing myself and dedicating my life to helping and healing others through love and action.”
Choe additionally told The New York Times in 2021 that his controversial story was a way to find rock bottom.
“At that time in my life, I was done with life and chasing a bottom. I wanted out,” Choe said. “I never raped anyone.”
Instead, the story was birthed from the “morbid curiosity to feel an external response to the internal shame I felt,” with Choe concluding, “It was strangely comforting to be so despised. It matched how I felt about myself for the first time.”