A look at the artist’s obsession with rape over the past 5 years.
[CN: rape, violence, sexual content, language]
Major trigger warning. It was uncomfortable putting this piece together, but I felt it necessary. Rape is never a joke, and those who want to treat it as such need to be held accountable.
David Choe claims his rape confession on his March podcast was simply another layer of his controversial art. He says he’s not a rapist and that it “sucks” to be called one. Someone should advise Choe to maybe not tell a story, in vivid detail, about him raping a masseuse and telling his listeners just how thrilling it was. Then maybe the rest of us won’t consider him dangerous.
One need only search “David Choe rape” to find an assortment of articles including both his name and the word rape. The first pieces I came across had to do with the March podcast. But as I dug a little deeper, I was finding more search results that had nothing to do with that. Yet there was Choe, talking and joking about rape. Again. And Again. And again.
One of the more disturbing stories I came across, was from a 2009 interview in Juxtapoz. Choe admits he not only can’t control his erection in public, but also that he fantasized about raping the “Chinese girls” he was on an elevator with.
Riding the elevator looking like a chinese bum, I started to get a huge erection, looking at all the fucking chinese girls on their light up cell phones and mini skirts, I wanted to hit on them so bad, but I didnt know how to say anything in chinese except KNEE HOW, I just looked like a creepy ass pervert, I thought I was gonna jizz my pants right then and there, it wouldve blended nicely into my jeans with all the other stains, but it was pure torture, I had so much jizz on my brain, I mentally skull fucked and raped every woman in sight, I didnt know what to do!!
I don’t want to be anywhere near David Choe, ever. I fear for any women who work with him or come into contact with him. His own words, once again, no matter how many times he wants to label himself as edgy, make me doubt his story was all make-believe.
In 2010, on the zine-turned-website, Fecal Face, Choe answers an interview question about what he is working on with this:
…I will finally start to work on my fantasy game of rape, incest, and pedophilia and any other sexual fantasies that have been asked of me over the years. It’s a strange feeling to actually be called a faggot by a woman/man because you won’t perform rape fantasies with them. Ladies and germs this is what I’m working on, I will try harder.
A month later, in another 2010 interview, David Choe mentions that supposed rape fantasy scenario again. He also discusses wanting to murder women, all of this in response to the question of whether he loves women or is a misogynist.
…sometimes I want to bow down at the alter of woman, and kiss their feet, and other times I’d like to cut their heads off with a rusty chainsaw and use their hollowed out heads as a spittoon and I don’t even chew tobacco. … You don’t have the lust to murder, beat and kill unless you have the passion for love. A woman actually called me a faggot for not raping her last week, but I’m almost 109% sure it’s not rape, if someone’s asking you to do it.
For his Choebots collection, he described two of his creations’ favorite color as “rape yellow.” People bought those limited edition prints. There is plenty of good art to be collected in this world, supporting an artist who is far too preoccupied with rape (not to mention his trans/misogynistic ways) seems like a lousy way to spend your money.
In the 2010 VICE documentary series, How to Hitchhike Across America: Thumbs Up, Choe smirks as he says the last time he hitchhiked, he was “a lot skinnier and sexier” and that he “only almost got raped twice,” but this time around he had put on some weight. He likens that to how a lot of rape victims put on weight to be less attractive and avoid being assaulted, and so hopefully he won’t be raped on his trip. How this clip didn’t end up on the cutting room floor is beyond me.
David Choe lets the word “rape” slip from his mouth the way most people would utter “water.” Aside from his distasteful use of rape as a punchline, he has no understanding of the actual meaning of the word. He explains in this 2012 article that during the 1992 L.A. Riots, “stores were raped to the ground.” Someone please buy this man a dictionary.
Another particularly unsettling bit from Choe was from his KGB podcast in 2012. In Episode 17, he has yet another story to tell that centers around rape. Actually, it is two stories. The first, he talks about his ex-girlfriend who was an “annoying bitch” that was “like date-raped.” He went on to say that “technically she did get raped but guess what? Technically she was also cheating on me.” So sexual violence is a reasonable consequence of infidelity? That isn’t the worst of this podcast. It’s so awful, it’s actually difficult to say which part is the most horrifying.
Next, Choe talks about a friend of his who was gang-raped. He reasons that his friend was at least partly responsible for her rape. He said she’d prefer being beaten and gang-raped to working a 9-5 job. He also advises people to work at Subway so they won’t get raped. He continues:
I’m not blaming her at all, rape is rape, but she put herself in danger, in a situation where she could get raped because she needed money.
It’s odd, that really sounds like blame to me. Yet, still, I’m not entirely sure this is the worst part. Choe takes his friend, the rape victim, on a road trip. At one point, he tells his friend, due to his anger at the crime of rape, he is going to kidnap her rapist and go to Mexico. He is going to keep the rapist drugged up and have him undergo “sex change” operations until he looks “like the most beautiful woman ever.” David Choe says he is then going to rape her every single day of his life.
The fact he would use such violence when, in his words, he was “helping” his friend who had just been assaulted says a lot about where his heart is. Another concerning aspect is his desire to rape someone. This entire podcast segment is vile.
Side note: did any of these women give Choe permission to talk about their rapes on a podcast? He gave details, enough for someone to figure out who either of the women he spoke about were.
The page for David Choe’s first episode of his DVDASA (not worth a click, I assure you) podcast with Asa Akira, describes the show as “fun and hilarity” and promises its listeners will “hear popular mainstream guests get verbally ear raped…” There’s that word again. I’m struck at the frequency with which Choe is associated with it.
On a 2013 episode of Joe Rogan Live, Choe tells yet another “rape story” and, once again, laughs ensue. He says, “It takes a special kinda guy…” [to be able to rape another man]. I was happy this was only a “highlight” and less than two minutes in length. I don’t want to know where the conversation led on from there. I’m sure it was hilarious though. The description on Itunes for his September 25, 2013 Podcast (#68) states that Choe’s friend “brazenly admits that he is capable of raping Dave…” Apparently this show expands upon the story he was telling on his Joe Rogan Live appearance. The theme of rape seems to be something David Choe just can’t stay away from.
Published on January 30, 2014, David Choe’s DVDASA #93 podcast clip has him bashing the unemployed, calling them “fucking losers.” But it gets worse. The title of the clip is called “Rape Yourself, Rape Life” and Choe explains that sometimes a wife needs to force herself to give her husband a blowjob. He then compares making yourself take a job you don’t necessarily want to rape.
You force… The same way like a rape, you force yourself on someone… You rape yourself. Rape yourself, rape life.
He was so enamored with that idea, he tweeted it again in April (graphic above) and decided “RapeLife” was a great hashtag. This guy just never knows when to stop, huh?
If you are still holding your breath for VICE to fire Choe or make a statement condemning him, I’d advise you to exhale. I’ll be surprised if VICE makes mention of this incident again. It seems they themselves like to get in on throwing around the word “rape” to be, I guess, controversial? This is a response they had regarding Choe in February 2012:
For the last week or so, just about every person in the VICE New York office has asked us, “What are you gonna do with David Choe? You know he just made $500,000,000,000,000 off Facebook stock, right?” To which we would reply, “Oh, I dunno…” while secretly thinking, “Uh, nothing, starfucker! We’re going to leave him alone while the rest of the media rapes his privacy and the Taiwanese make a CGI video that encapsulates the entire situation, which will be released less than a day after his interview with Barbara Walters. Also, Choe drew our January cover. We were a month ahead of everyone else, so why don’t you just go back to watching E! and give us a call when Whitney Houston dies, OK?
So VICE “reviewing” their relationship with David Choe means jack to me.
I learned a lot more about David Choe this week than I ever wanted to. He is an admitted pervert and thief with a gambling problem. He is also misogynistic, and is often bashing trans women and sex workers (his idea of humor, apparently). Those who like Choe, and his art, use “intense” and “complicated” to describe him. I had a hard time finding any redeeming qualities as I listened to and read his words. The fact is there are too many women like Rose who have been raped in the manner Choe described, which makes this a matter we can’t simply walk away from. At best, he thinks rape is funny and sees nothing wrong with “entertaining” his fans with a horrible account of sexual assault. At worst, David Choe is a rapist.
For anyone as misguided as David Choe about the difference between art and rape, I will tell you. I know both. This is art. This is rape. We can make art about rape. We can write about it, tell stories, we can paint imagery, use photography, all of that can play a role in challenging rape culture. Art is powerful. Society needs to hear our stories and needs to take rape seriously. What David Choe did was not art, what he did was glorify rape. If he made up the story, to be edgy, he’s just a really disgusting person. If what he said was true, he raped a woman and should be held accountable.
Out of his own mouth, over the past five years, David Choe has continued to display an utterly inappropriate rape fixation. Choe just can’t help himself, can he? He can’t keep himself from making rape jokes nearly as often as his name is in print. David Choe just can’t help himself from getting an erection on an elevator with girls or while getting a massage. How many rapists have said the exact same thing?
I can’t help myself.
Look what you do to me.
I need this.
She was saying no, but trust me, I know she wanted it.
She said ‘yes’ with her eyes.
Many rapists celebrate their crimes. Many don’t even think they are rapists. We’ve been fed the “dark stranger in an alley” narrative for so long that even rapists believe only those men are rapists. This is why David Choe’s jokes and stories matter and why his rape obsession is nothing to laugh at. Someone please educate him. For everyone else, for the love of everything good in this world, appreciate other art. Better art. Art that isn’t produced at the hands of someone like David Choe. If after reading all of this, you can still watch a VICE episode featuring him or read any article praising him, go get some help yourself. Respect women. Respect rape victims. Rape is never a joke. Rape is never funny. Rape jokes are not art. Rape confessions, whether true or false, are not edgy.
End Note: The quotes I included have grammatical and spelling errors, those are direct quotes from those sites and not my typing mistakes.