Watch CBS News

"Beef" creator, stars address actor David Choe's "disturbing" resurfaced comments about rape

The creator and stars of Netflix's "Beef" have responded to the controversy surrounding resurfaced comments about rape made by actor David Choe on a 2014 podcast.

A statement issued to Vanity Fair on Friday by series creator Lee Sung Jin and leads Ali Wong and Steven Yeun, who also produced the show, acknowledged the incident as "upsetting and triggering."

"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," the statement read. "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."

CBS News has reached out to Choe, Wong, and Yuen's representatives for comment. A representative for Netflix declined to comment.

Steven Yeun, David Choe, Ali Wong and Lee Sung Jin at the LA premier of "Beef"
Steven Yeun, David Choe, Ali Wong and Lee Sung Jin attend the Los Angeles Premiere of Netflix's "BEEF" after party on March 30, 2023, in Hollywood, California. JC Olivera/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images

The hit Netflix show's release has been marred with controversy due to the recirculation of a podcast interview in which Choe, who plays a supporting role as Isaac Cho in the series, discusses sexually assaulting a masseuse, a story he later claimed was fictional.

In the clip, which began recirculating online after "Beef" was released on April 6, Choe describes what he called "rapey behavior" during a massage with a woman he called Rose, including performing sex acts in front of and with the masseuse. 

In clips of the interview that remain on social media, Choe described the masseuse as "half Black, half White" and recounted being excited by "the thrill of possibly going to jail."

"You're basically telling us that you're a rapist now, and the only way to get your dick really hard is rape," the co-host of Choe's DVDASA podcast, Asa Akira, says in the clip, to which Choe responds "Yeah," before referring to himself as "a successful rapist."

In response to backlash to the clip after its initial release in 2014, Choe claimed that the story was fabricated, and not "a representation of my reality," BuzzFeed News reported at the time. The actor, who is also a graffiti artist, apologized again for the story in 2017 after a mural he painted in New York City was spray-painted with the word "rapist."

Choe has not addressed the most recent controversy publicly. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.