Choe ignited backlash after 2014 'rapey behavior' comments resurfaced.
Beef creator Lee Sung Jin and the show's stars, Ali Wong and Steven Yeun, have broken their silence in the wake of the scandal surrounding one of the show's breakout stars, David Choe.
In a joint statement to Vanity Fair, Jin, Wong and Yeun addressed Choe's comments a week after Choe found himself embroiled in controversy when his crass comments from a 2014 interview on a podcast resurfaced, in which he referred to himself as a "successful rapist." There was immediate backlash following the episode, and he apologized in 2014 and then again in 2017. His 2014 comments resurfaced amid Beef becoming an instant hit on Netflix.
"The story David Choe fabricated nine years ago is undeniably hurtful and extremely disturbing," the statement read. "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."
In clips of the now-defunct podcast, DVDASA, Choe tells his co-host, porn actor and director Asa Akira, and a group of guests a story that has been criticized as rape and sexual assault since it's been widely shared after Beef debuted last week.
Gawker reported on the podcast's discussion back in 2014, including the full transcript of Choe's comments. During the 2014 podcast episode, Choe said his "erection quest" took him to his favorite massage studio -- where he emphasized that sexual contact was not on the menu. During a session with a masseuse he called Rose, he said he began to experience an erection.
"So I go back to the chill method of: You never ask first, you just do it, get in trouble and then pay the price later," Choe told his guests, going on to say he forced the masseuse to perform oral sex on him, noting that "she didn't want to do it."
Akira loudly protested that Choe was detailing a rape as the male guests ask Choe to describe the masseuse's physical attributes.
"The thrill of possibly going to jail is what achieved the erection quest," Choe said, also replying, "She said yes with her eyes."
"I just want to make it clear that I admit that that's rapey behavior, but I am not a rapist," Choe added, according to Gawker.
When someone on the show asked what the masseuse looked like, Akira said, "Who cares what she looks like? Dave is telling us he's a rapist," to which Choe responded with, "A successful rapist."
He soon apologized.
"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," Choe wrote. "I am an artist and a storyteller and I view my show DVDASA 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."
He went on to say that the anecdote "was not a representation of [his] reality."
"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," he concluded. "In a world full of horrible people, thank god for us."
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.