Beef stars Ali Wong and Steven Yeun, as well as the show’s creative team, have released a statement responding to the controversy surrounding colleague David Choe.
Since its debut on Netflix at the beginning April, Beef has proved hugely popular on the streaming giant, and at the time of writing, is still among the top five TV shows on the platform here in the UK.
However, the presence of David Choe among the cast has been a source of discomfort for some viewers.
The American actor and artist plays Issac Cho in Beef, although his casting has been controversial due to comments he made on his former podcast back in 2014.
During one episode of his now-defunct podcast DVDASA, David told a story about masturbating while receiving a massage, and forcing the female massage therapist into touching his penis and performing an oral sex act on him.
The podcast sparked a backlash upon its release, with David insisting a month later that the story he’d told was a fictional account.
“I’m sorry if anyone believed that the stories were fact,” he said as part of a lengthier statement at the time. “They were not!”
Three years later, he released a second statement on the matter, which read: “[During] 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 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 three years in mental health facilities healing myself and dedicating my life to helping and healing others through love and action.”
While the team at Beef had remained silent on the matter until this week, Ali Wong, Steven Yeun and the show’s creator Lee Sung Jin issued a statement to Variety on Friday, addressing the controversy directly.
“The story David Choe fabricated nine years ago is undeniably hurtful and extremely disturbing,” they said. “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.”
HuffPost UK also contacted representatives for David Choe, Netflix and the production company A24 earlier this week, but did not receive a response.