‘Beef’ Cast Responds to David Choe Controversy: Rape Story Is ‘Fabricated’ But ‘Undeniably Hurtful’
David Choe’s past came back to haunt him as resurfaced footage from a 2014 podcast episode found the actor, who appears in the popular Netflix series Beef, recounting in explicit detail a story about sexually assaulting a Black massage therapist. In a new statement released to Variety, the show’s creator Lee Sung Jin as well as stars Steven Yeun and Ali Wong, responded to the controversy, claiming that while the story was “fabricated,” they still found it to be “undeniably hurtful and extremely disturbing” but believe Choe has rehabilitated himself in the years since.
“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 wrote in a joint statement. “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.”
Choe’s first apology arrived shortly after the podcast was released. Initially, he expressed his shock and confusion as to why he was being called a rapist after referring to himself as “a successful rapist” on the podcast and telling a story in which he claimed to have forced his penis into a woman’s mouth after being denied consent multiple times.
“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, I think rapists should be raped and murdered,” Choe said in 2014. “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.”
He then added: “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 2017, Choe posted a 300-word statement on Instagram once again acknowledging the incident. “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,” he wrote. “Non-consensual sex is rape and it is never funny or appropriate to joke about. 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. I do not believe in the things I have said although I take full ownership of saying them.”
Choe, who is 47 now and was around 36 when the podcast was recorded, has not addressed the recent resurgence of the clip. According to Variety, some clips circulating around Twitter from the podcast were removed with Digital Millennium Copyright Act notices that seem to have been filed by Choe himself under the David Young Choe Foundation.
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