Asian American activist and blogger Jenn Fang says the response given by the creators of the Netflix show “Beef” regarding its star David Choe’s comment about “rapey behavior” is not enough.
Choe, a Korean American graffiti artist-turned-actor, has recently come under fire after a 2014 video resurfaced in which Choe admitted he’d engaged in “rapey behavior” with a Black masseuse. On Friday, the show’s creator Lee Sung Jin, along with its stars and executive producers Ali Wong and Steven Yeun, made a statement to Variety that reaffirmed Choe’s 2017 apology in which he said the story was fictitious. The trio also deemed the story “undeniably hurtful and extremely disturbing.”
“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,” they said, per Variety.
But Fang, founder and editor of the Asian American blog Reappropriatewho has been critical of Choe in the past and blogged about Choe’s story when it was first released in 2014, says this recent statement is simply not enough.
“I don’t think the 2017 apology or this statement do enough to address how violent, misogynistic, and anti-Black the original remarks were or how his subsequent excuse of ‘art’ only perpetuates how society delegitimizes stories of r*pe and discourages victims from coming [forward],” Fang wrote in a Twitter thread Friday.
Fang goes on to demand that Choe and the show’s creators actively engage in the discussion surrounding rape culture.
“I think I would like to see efforts – by Choe and producers of BEEF – to actually speak openly, honestly and at-length about how this whole thing illustrates how intertwined toxic masculinity is with sexual violence. Engage – not end – the discourse,” Fang continued.
Fang’s focus on toxic masculinity is consistent with her initial criticism of Choe’s statements back in 2014.
“Honestly, what most disturbed me here was how David Choe’s story caters to a particular subset of the Asian American community: the highly misogynist counter-movement to the Asian American emasculation stereotype that emphasizes the objectification and sexual conquest of women to reinforce Asian American masculinity ,” Fang wrote on Reappropriate in 2014.
Circling back to Friday’s thread, Fang also called into question the creators’ claim that they’d “seen [Choe] put in the work to get the mental health support he needed.”
“It doesn’t sit well with me that the apology and statement blames a story of sexual violence on mental illness. Mental health issues don’t need to be further stigmatized — most [people] with mental illness aren’t violent,” Fang wrote.
Fang did not immediately respond to The Wrap’s request for further comment.
Netflix has declined to comment.