Facebook Artist in Trouble After Recent Podcast

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The graffiti artist who made a fortune painting the walls of Facebook’s headquarters has found himself in some trouble after a recent podcast. On a recent episode of DVDASA, a podcast he hosts with porn star Asa Akira, David Choe painted a painfully detailed picture of sexually assaulting his masseuse. Audience reaction to what Choe later called “bad storytelling” was not great, leading to Choe posting an explanation of the story on the DVDASA webpage.

David Choe is a successful graffiti artist and entertainer. He made millions of dollars when he painted murals for Facebook headquarters in 2007, and chose to receive company stock as payment instead of cash. He stars in a show called Thumbs Up! which is a documentary web series about hitch-hiking and is currently filming its fourth season. Choe is also the co-host of DVDASA, a dark-comedy podcast that claims to help youth with relationships and sexuality, but a recent episode of the podcast has landed the Facebook artist in some trouble with his listeners.

On March 10, during an episode of DVDASA, Choe shared a sexually explicit story with listeners detailing how he forced his masseuse to perform sexual acts on him despite the fact she was saying no. He went on to describe “the thrill of the possibility of going to jail,” and then defended his actions later in the podcast by claiming that although the masseuse said no she “said yes with her eyes.”

Since the airing of the DVDASA podcast, Choe has made an official statement on the podcast’s website denying he is a rapist and assuring his audience that “if [he] is guilty of anything, it’s bad storytelling.” Choe claims that his podcast was misunderstood, and that his show DVDASA is merely an extension of his art. The incident has since become a part of the ongoing debate over whether or not artists should be held socially accountable for the art they produce. Choe concludes his statement by saying that his podcast is intended to be challenging and provocative, and that it is a “dark, tasteless, irreverent show where [the hosts] f**k with everyone listening.”

The March 10 podcast is not the first time David Choe has revealed his profoundly problematic views of women. Ion Magazine published an interview with Choe in 2010, during which he discussed public perception of him and his art. When asked about misogyny in his work, David Choe shared his mixed feelings towards women, explaining that he sometimes wants to “bow down … and kiss their feet,” and other times wants to “cut their heads off with a rusty chainsaw.” According to David Choe, however, the audience should not judge his work on his “horrible personality.”

David Choe has adamantly claimed that the story he told on DVDASA was not a representation of reality. The “just joking” defense that Choe invoked is not a novel justification, and representations of rape in art, and rape humor have come under scrutiny recently by many feminist thinkers. If Choe’s story was, as he said in his statement, “an extension of his art” then perhaps the larger question is, what was the message in that particular piece of art? David Choe told the story as himself, allowing the audience to believe it was an account of something that happened, and chuckled as he told his co-host how the woman he assaulted was “definitely, like, not into it, but she [wasn’t] stopping it either.” As Lindy West pointed out in How to Make a Rape Joke, “the key [to provocative subject matter] is to be a responsible person when you conduct your jokes.” So is the Facebook artist’s troubling humor in his recent podcast irresponsible? As comedian Patton Oswalt recently suggested during a discussion of responsibility in humor, jokes are funny when they do not make the victim into a punchline.

Commentary by Sandra Pugliese

Sources

explicit language and graphic images:
DVDASA
ABCNews
XOJane
IonMagazine
BuzzFeed
Jezebel 
Vulture

5 Responses to "Facebook Artist in Trouble After Recent Podcast"

  1. Ridwan   August 26, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    David is a Shaman. The rest of you can all runt off!!!!!!!

    Reply
  2. alex viegas   August 7, 2014 at 1:32 am

    Being offended is a choice.

    Reply
  3. Anne Wellington   April 26, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    I don’t believe for a second that he made it up and I don’t think I’m alone. His defence that it was just art in a show where “everyone f**ks around” is sudden, why tell the world this now? Why not earlier, before he got into hot water, and if this is true why does this rape story seem to be the only thing described as fake? Stuff doesn’t add up. What he’s doing is the same thing as lads mags do when confronted with publishing crude, thoughtless, and sometimes disturbingly rapey pieces of sexual objectification. “It’s just irony” they say, “can’t you take a joke?” David choe is following the same lines. And few are buying it.

    Reply
    • Joe   April 27, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      I agree.

      Reply
    • Sandra Pugliese   April 28, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      yes Anne, I have a hard time with artists who hide behind being “edgy” to avoid being held accountable for their words. If it wasn’t fake then he admitted to sexual assault, if it is fake he is terribly irresponsible at best.

      Reply

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