Ali Wong Says David Choe Controversy Was ‘Upsetting’

Elif Ozden

In a recent interview with Variety, Ali Wong commented on the controversy surrounding her ‘Beef’ co-star, David Choe. Wong admitted that Choe’s behavior, which was described in the statement ‘Beef’s executive producers recently issued, was really upsetting.

Asked to explain the meaning behind ‘Beef’ creators’ joint statement about Choe, Wong said:

“The behavior just described in that is really upsetting. We put out that statement, and for now, I feel like it’s time for me to listen and not rush to say anything more on the matter.”

In April, ‘Beef’ creators Lee Sung Jin, Steven Yeun, and Wong issued a statement about the controversy to Vanity Fair. They said they acknowledge that Choe’s story is hurtful and triggering for some:

“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. 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.”

Soon after ‘Beef’s release, David Choe’s past remarks about coercing his masseuse into a sexual act resurfaced. As reported by BuzzFeed News, Choe admitted masturbating in front of the masseuse and touching her without asking her consent in a March 2014 episode of his podcast DVDASA:

“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. So I just start jerking off. Then her hands get off my leg, and she just stops. I go, ‘Look, I’m sorry I can’t help myself — can you just pretend like I’m not doing this, and you continue with the massage?’ And she’s like, ‘All right,’ and she does. I’m like, ‘Can I touch your butt?’ and I reach out and touch her butt, and she pulls away. She doesn’t want me to touch her butt.

After his 2017 street art project resulted in protests, Choe issued a lengthy statement in an Instagram post. He wrote that he used the story for the sake of provoking a reaction from the audience, and it didn’t actually happen:

“In a 2014 episode of DVDASA, I relayed a story simply for shock value that made it seem as if I had sexually violated a woman. 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. Non-consensual sex is rape, which is never funny or appropriate to joke about.”

Choe then continued, revealing he received mental health support for three years and hated himself for telling that story:

“I was a sick person at the height of my mental illness, and I have spent the last three 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. Additionally, I do not condemn anyone or have any ill will towards those who spread hate and speak out negatively against me; no one will ever hate me more than I hated myself back then.

Despite the controversy, ‘Beef’ has received a %98 rating on Rotten Tomatoes and rose to number two on Netflix’s Global Top 10 TV list.

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