On Friday, the show's creator Lee Sung Jin and its stars Ali Wong and Steven Yeun released a short joint statement to Vanity Fair, saying, “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."
Their comments come as a clip from Choe's own podcast DVDASA made the rounds on the internet earlier this month. In the clip, which has been reposted on Twitter, the actor and graffiti artist tells co-host Asa Akira that he sexually assaulted a Black massage therapist in 2014.
At the time the clip first went viral nine years ago, Choe took to his website to say the clip was a case of "bad storytelling," writing, "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 hate rapists, I think rapists should be raped and murdered."
With the instant popularity and critical acclaim behind Beef, which was released earlier this month, the clip has gotten widespread attention — with many seeing it for the first time. Following the statement, fans were surprised that Wong and Yeun were previously aware of Choe's comments, yet chose to hire him anyways.
"We're aware David has apologized in the past for making up this horrific story," the statement from the creators continued. "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."
Others were displeased by the brevity of the response, the use of the word "fabricated," and most significantly, its seeming defense of Choe. "People are saying Steven Yeun and Ali Wong shouldn’t have released that statement and I disagree. I’m glad they did," wrote one user. "Because now I know exactly how they feel (about Black women)."
Adding fuel to the fire, Choe have tried to have the video scrubbed from social media, claiming copyright ownership over the clip. One user, who posted the video and had his account locked, shared screenshots of the complaint written by Choe's team. The 47-year-old has not commented publicly on the current controversy.
\u201cPeople are saying Steven Yeun and Ali Wong shouldn\u2019t have released that statement and I disagree. I\u2019m glad they did. Because now I know exactly how they feel (about Black women), where they stand (in terms of supporting their degenerate friend David Choe), & how we arrived here.\u201d— Clarkisha Kent (@Clarkisha Kent) 1682114927
\u201csteven yeun releasing a statement defending an admitted rapist\u2026 surprised and disappointed at the same time. men always sticking out their necks for other men that are flat out abusers/predators. it\u2019s nothing new. just hollywood being hollywood again. i an beyond hurt by this.\u201d— khalia. | classic hollywood princess\ud83e\udd62\ud83d\udc8c (@khalia. | classic hollywood princess\ud83e\udd62\ud83d\udc8c) 1682120048
\u201cRaise your hand if you think Lee Sung Jin, Steven Yeun and Ali Wong\u2019s statement about David Choe\u2019s past rape story is bullshit and they were better off staying silent\u201d— Raven Brunner (@Raven Brunner) 1682110826
Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty Images for Netflix