Social media users are boycotting Netflix and A24’s show “Beef” after a podcast episode from 2014 in which star David Choe explicitly describes sexually assaulting a woman resurfaced.
Investigative journalist Aura Bogado shared a clip from the “DVDASA” podcast episode titled “Erection Quest,” which Choe was hosting at the time along with co-host Asa Akira. The episode features Choe recounting a story about a time he purportedly masturbated in front of a Black masseuse and forced her to perform oral sex on him at a Los Angeles spa.
Choe, a 46-year-old artist and former journalist, discussed touching the woman despite her not giving any “signs that she’s into me or that this is appropriate behavior.”
“The thrill of possibly going to jail, you know, that’s what achieved the erection quest,” Choe says in the clip.
“Ew, you’re basically telling us that you’re a rapist now and the only way to get your dick really hard is rape,” replies Akira, to which Choe says, “Yeah,” before crudely discussing the woman’s physical appearance.
He later brags that he is a “successful rapist.”
Although Bogado’s tweet had been removed, the clip is continuing to circulate on social media, with many users condemning Choe and calling for the boycott of “Beef.”
“David Choe wrote to Twitter to get the video I posted of him talking about the woman he says he raped taken down on copyright grounds,” Bogado tweeted. “He claims his *nonprofit* owns the copyright to the video of him talking about the alleged rape.”
“Four episodes in, but after listening to this, I’ll call it a season. I can’t support this project. And yes, one person CAN ruin an entire show or experience,” one person wrote.
“Representation is just not worth promoting or profiting off a self alleged rapist. I want representation, but not at the cost of BIPOC women being abused, gas-lit, and silenced. That’s my BEEF,” Mia Ives-Rublee, director of Disability Justice initiative at Center for American Progress, tweeted.
“It’s the lack of solidarity for me. David Choe admits to assaulting a Black woman and Steven Yeun (who is highly adored by the Black community) is actively protecting him. It’s disgusting really,” one user tweeted.
Although Choe has not recently commented on the video, he previously addressed his comments a month after the episode originally aired, claiming that the story was made up for entertainment purposes.
“If I am guilty of anything, it’s bad storytelling in the style of douche,” he reportedly wrote on his now-defunct website, according to the New York Post.
Just like many of my paintings are often misinterpreted, the same goes with my show. The main objective of all of my podcasts is to challenge and provoke my friends and the co-stars on the show. We create stories and tell tales… 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!
“I never thought I’d wake up one late afternoon and hear myself called a rapist. It sucks. Especially because I am not one. I am not a rapist. I hate rapists,” he also wrote in the 2014 statement.
It is not the first time the issue resurfaced, nor is it the first time an episode of the now-defunct podcast has caused controversy.
In 2017, a mural that Choe painted was vandalized with the word “rapist.”
Following the incident, Choe reportedly apologized for the episode and noted that he has “zero history of sexual assault.”
In a 2014 episode of [“DVDASA,”] 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 am deeply sorry for any hurt I’ve brought to anyone through my past words. Non-consensual sex is rape and it is never funny or appropriate to joke about.
Netflix has not commented on the issue.
“Beef,” a now hit comedy drama, follows the aftermath of a road rage incident between two strangers whose feud spirals out of control. Choe portrays Yeun’s character Danny’s criminal cousin, Isaac Cho.