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Ali Wong and Steven Yeun Face Backlash After Horrific Clip of Co-star David Choe Joking About Rape Resurfaces

by Emily Lauletta

Beef, A drama/comedy starring Ali Wong and Steven Yeun came out on Netflix this weekend. While the show is decidedly binge-worthy, its’ premiere weekend has been clouded by some unfortunate revelations about another one of the show’s stars, David Choe.

In 2014, Choe, who once hosted the podcast DVDASA, attempted to make a joke in which he recounted a detailed and disgusting story of how he raped a Black woman. Choe’s account is nothing less than vile, and one of his co-hosts, Asa Akira, thought so too. Akira chimed in to say “Ew, you’re basically telling us that you’re a rapist now. And the only way to get your d*ck really hard– is rape.” To which Choe responded “Yeah,” and went on to refer himself as “a successful rapist.” 

A month after he told the story on his podcast, Choe made a statement and did the whole “blah blah no you don’t get it it was for my art” thing. In the same statement, he wrote, “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 don’t know, people probably thought you were a rapist because you publicly bragged about being a rapist. Just a guess though. 

Choe issued a more in-depth statement in 2017, in which he stated in an Instagram caption, “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.”



So given all of this, many people are upset with how Netflix, and executive producers Ali Wong and Steven Yeun, are handling this breaking story. 

David Choe was hired on Beef partly because he is friends with Wong and Yeun, so, many are wondering why the two would hire him in the first place, as they surely knew about Choe’s problematic past. 



Some are also mad that Wong and Yeun haven’t said anything since this story broke.



However, some are worried that too much blame is being placed on Wong and Yeun, particularly Wong, as these stories often get twisted to place the blame on women. In other words, people are asking why we’re blaming Ali Wong for David Choe being a creep.



It’s true, women are often blamed for the bad actions of men. That being said, Wong and Yeun did serve as executive producers on the show, meaning it was in their job description to vet talent, uphold the brand image of their show, and in some ways, make sure the set is as safe an environment as possible. In true feminist fashion, the answer here is really “both/and.” While Wong and Yeun should not be blamed for Choe’s actions, as leaders on the set of Beef, they should be doing all they can now to publicly address this issue and decide on consequences for Choe. 

At the end of the day, the real issue here is how easy it seems to be for men to continue to have successful careers after they joke about, are accused of, or admit to rape and sexual assault.

Top photo: Screen grab from “BEEF | Official Trailer | Netflix” from @Netflix on YouTube

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