Warning: This article contains descriptions of an alleged sexual assault.
A story that artist and actor David Choe told on a 2014 podcast, in which he alleged that he sexually assaulted a masseuse, is recirculating.
Choe currently stars in Netflix’s Beef as Isaac, the chaotic cousin of Steven Yeun’s Danny. On Wednesday, a tweet about Choe’s art being featured in the title card of each episode was spotlighted by writer Aura Bogado, who quote-tweeted: “David Choe, as in the guy who detailed the way he raped a woman? And then came back to say it was just a misunderstood version of his reality? Ok.”
Bogado linked to an April 2014 BuzzFeed article that detailed a conversation between Choe and co-host Asa Akira, from a March 2014 episode of their podcast DVDASA. This incident was first reported in the now-defunct xoJane.
Choe’s account, which is detailed in the BuzzFeed article, is very graphic. He alleges that during a massage with a woman named “Rose,” he got an erection and began masturbating. He claims she denied his requests to go any further than the massage and, by his own admission, she was “definitely not into it” and this was “not a jerk-off place.”
He claims that he went the “chill method of, you never ask first, you just do it, get in trouble, and then pay the price later.” That included allegedly sexually assaulting the masseuse.
“You’re basically telling us that you’re a rapist now,” Akira later exclaims. “And the only way to get your dick really hard is rape.”
“Yeah,” Choe responds, before describing what the woman looked like, at the request of another man in the room.
“What the fuck is wrong with you guys?” Akira interjects. “Who cares what she looks like, Dave is telling us he’s a rapist.”
“A successful rapist,” Choe adds. Video of that moment was posted to Twitter, as was the full podcast episode.
A few days after the story got picked up, Choe responded on the podcast’s website, claiming he was not a rapist and that the details of the alleged rape were just “bad storytelling.”
In 2017, the Bowery Wall hosted Choe’s work and was subsequently the site of an anti-rape culture protest called No Means No, organized by curator Jasmine Wahi, who cited the 2014 podcast in a post about the event. Choe’s mural was reportedly defaced with the word “rapist” shortly after it was finished, according to Time Out. He released another statement in June 2017, claiming the story was for “shock value.”
We reached out to Netflix for comment.
Update 9am CT, April 18: The podcast clip was removed from Twitter, after Bogado apparently received a copyright claim from Choe.
Update 4pm CT, April 21: Steven Yeun, Ali Wong, and Beef creator Lee Sung Jin released a statement, saying that the story 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. 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.”