Unpacking the ‘Beef’ Backlash and the ‘Beef’ Boycott

Warning: This article deals with an account of rape and may be triggering for survivors of abuse.

Beef is a 2023 Netflix series that follows two strangers who become enemies after a car crash. It’s an exploration of male loneliness, 21st-century rage, and what can turn us into Karens. Beef is somewhat based on a road rage experience that the director, Lee Sung Jin, had.

However, despite Beef having a killer premise, plus scoring an A+ cast and some stellar reviews, this series has received some backlash. This is because David Choe, one of the actors in it, said some vile comments during a podcast that’s resurfaced. 

In a 2014 episode of Double Vaginal, Double Anal, Sensitive Artist, Choe described himself raping a woman. He went into detail of how he forced a massage therapist to perform sexual acts on him.

As Choe said, “I take the back of her head, and I push it down on my dick, and she doesn’t do it, and I go, ‘Open your mouth,’ and she does it, and then I start face-f**king her.”

During this story, Choe said that he enjoyed the “thrill of possibly going to jail” and that he was a “successful rapist”.

One month later, David Choe backtracked his comments and claimed he made up the story. 

“I never thought I’d wake up one late afternoon and hear myself called a rapist,” said Choe. “It sucks. Especially because I am not one. I am not a rapist. I hate rapists, I think rapists should be raped and murdered.”

“If I am guilty of anything, it’s bad storytelling in the style of douche. Just like many of my paintings are often misinterpreted, the same goes with my show.”

In 2017, David Choe discussed his rape story again, but this time with a bit more tack. 

“I relayed a story simply for shock value that made it seem as if I had sexually violated a woman,” Choe said. “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, and it is never funny or appropriate to joke about,” he continued. “I was a sick person at the height of my mental illness, and 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.”

The David Choe Scrub

As we just went over, David Choe has claimed that he’s taken “ownership” for telling a rape story. However, this might not be the case — since this story resurfaced, Choe has been blocking clips of it from being on the internet

In April 2023, the journalist Meecham Whitson Meriweather posted a clip of Choe’s story on Twitter. It was then copyright claimed and removed from the platform. This claim was from the “David Young Choe Foundation.”

The Beef Team’s Response

After David Choe’s rape story recirculated the internet, Beef’s Lee Sung Jin — along with Steven Yeun and Ali Wong — released a statement addressing the backlash.

Their statement is as follows: “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 apologised 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.”

The Beef Backlash

It’s worth noting that a lot of folks on the internet haven’t accepted David Choe’s apology. What’s more, some of these folks have decided to boycott Beef. This is because it went beyond a Family Guy or South Park ‘joke.’ It was graphic, pointless, and dehumanising. 

Why binge Beef when there are other series on Netflix?

Related: Who Is Andrew Tate and Why Is He Everywhere?

Related: Can Labor’s New Bill Quell Harassment in the Workplace?

If this article brings up any issues for you or anyone you know, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) the National Sexual Assault, domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service.

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