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Netflix star faces growing backlash as online comments resurface

Comments made by actor and artist David Choe, who stars in Netflix’s recent hit series Beef, joking about alleged sexual assault have resurfaced online.

In 2014, while speaking on his podcast DVDASA, Choe – who plays cousin Isaac on the hit comedy drama – described a non-consensual sexual encounter between himself and a masseuse, in which he allegedly began masturbating in front of her before pressuring her into oral sex.

David Choe as Isaac in Netflix series ‘Beef’.

David Choe as Isaac in Netflix series ‘Beef’.Credit: Netflix

At the time the actor admitted it was “rapey behaviour”, but assured listeners he is “not a rapist”. He told his podcast co-host, porn actress Asa Akira, that the “thrill of possibly going to jail” aroused him and later joked that he was a “successful rapist”.

Choe has since denied all allegations of sexual assault, arguing that he had fabricated the story for the podcast.

“I never thought I’d wake up one late afternoon and hear myself called a rapist. It sucks. Especially because I am not one,” Choe wrote on the DVDASA website in April 2014. “[The podcast] is 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.”

Before his role in Beef, Choe hosted a celebrity talk show called The Choe Show, briefly featured in an episode of The Mandalorian’s second season, and was a host and interviewer for HBO’s VICE. Beyond acting, the 46-year-old is a graffiti artist and painter who has illustrated for magazines including Hustler and Ray Gun.

Three years after the controversial podcast episode aired, a commission Choe received to paint a mural on Manhattan’s Houston-Bowery Wall was criticised by street artists. Choe posted an apology to Instagram, reiterating that he has no history of committing sexual assault and that he had spent the past few years working on himself in mental health facilities.

The podcast episode, alongside the filmed version which was posted to YouTube, are no longer available. But clips of these comments were shared via social media shortly after Beef’s debut. Despite its initial critical acclaim, the show’s fans are now caught between their appreciation of the show and their condemnation for the alleged inappropriate behaviour of one of its core cast members.


This week, Twitter removed certain posts containing clips of the podcast episode, citing a copyright notice filed on behalf of Choe himself. According to Variety, when journalists Meecham Whitson Meriweather and Aura Bogadowho posted clips, they received an email – via Choe’s non-profit organisation, the David Young Choe Foundation – stating their posts were infringing copyright and should be taken down.

Beef, an A24 co-production starring Steven Yeun and Ali Wong, is currently the most watched TV show on Netflix in Australia and the United States.

Choe did not immediately respond to this masthead’s request for comment and Netflix has so-far refused to issue a statement. Beef’s production company, A24, showrunner Lee Sung Jin, and co-leads Yeun and Wong have also not yet commented.

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