Posts calling out “Beef” star David Choe and sharing the 2014 podcast clip in which he detailed self-proclaimed “rapey behavior” have been taken down from Twitter since criticism renewed this month.
The tweets included clips from a 2014 episode of his now-defunct podcast, “DVDASA,” and were removed from Twitter on Sunday after they were labeled with a “report from the copyright holder” notice. The clips included Choe’s telling a graphic story about a masseuse that has been criticized as describing rape and sexual assault. He later asserted that the story was a fabrication.
An email obtained by NBC News, sent from Twitter and addressed to Meecham Whitson Meriweather — one of two social media users whose tweets were removed — listed Choe as the copyright holder and party who had requested the takedown. In the request, included in the email, Choe wrote that the clips had been shared “without our consent.”
“We would like to have these videos removed immediately,” said the request, which specifically cited tweets from Meriweather and fellow Twitter user Aura Bogado.
Neither Twitter nor Choe responded to requests for comment. After the controversial podcast in 2014, Choe denied the story, saying in a statement that the podcast is “a complete extension of my art.”
“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,” he wrote in the 2014 statement. Multiple news outlets at the time reported on his response, which was posted on the podcast’s now-defunct website.
The Twitter email, which also listed the David Young Choe Foundation as Choe’s company, informed Meriweather that his tweet had been taken down because of a “DMCA takedown notice,” a reference to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which protects copyright holders from online theft. However, several Twitter users said the tweets’ removal was an attempt by Choe to scrub the internet of his past.
Meriweather, a New York City-based culture writer, said he had been following “Beef” since it was released April 6. He saw the clip when it was first posted by Bogado, a senior reporter at the Center for Investigative Reporting.
Meriweather wrote in the now-removed tweet that the woman who was in the room during the episode, Asa Akira, called Choe out several times, telling him the behavior he described was rape, “allegedly.”
Meriweather said he was disappointed in the handling of the controversy, adding that the tweets’ removal is an example of silencing those condemning problematic behavior.
“It’s just so strange to me,” he said. “We are no longer believing our eyes and our ears when it’s right in front of us.”
Since the show’s release, many have questioned its decision to cast Choe. Choe previously said on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast that co-stars Steven Yeun and Ali Wong had presented him with the opportunity to be in the series, which marked his first major foray into acting.
“Waiting to hear why @aliwong and @steveyeun made a decision to give Choe this platform,” Bogado wrote. “Silence really speaks volumes.”
Neither Yeun nor Wong responded to requests for comment. And as of Monday, Wong’s Twitter account had been set to private. Neither Netflix nor A24, the studio that produced the series, responded, either. Bogado also did not respond to a request for comment.
Choe’s comments have been the subject of criticism in the past, as well. In 2017, a mural he painted in Manhattan was vandalized. And among the messages tagged on it was the word “rapist.” Choe apologized for the remarks in a statement on Instagram, writing that he has “ZERO history of sexual assault.”
“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,” he said. “I am deeply sorry for any hurt I’ve brought to anyone through my past words.”
Meriweather said he hopes the show will act, but he also acknowledged that there is a layered conversation to be had.
“I think there’s really only one way to go about it … which is to take accountability and then move forward without him,” Meriweather said. “The thing is that everyone knew. It was complicity. How do you really move forward with that when you are part of the problem?”