A popular street artist who's rubbed elbows with Anthony Bourdain and graffitied the walls of Facebook's headquarters used his sex-talk podcast last month to describe a forceful sexual encounter with his massage therapist that sounded an awful lot like assault.
A post yesterday on xoJane flagged the podcast, in which David Choe—VICE co-host, and celebrated "dirty style" artist who made hundreds of millions in stock for pimping out the Facebook headquarters with his trademark graffiti art—recounted how he'd physically forced a masseuse at an "upscale" Los Angeles parlor into sexually gratifying him.
Choe is kind of a big deal; his art is at the White House (he was a vocal supporter of the Obama campaign) and worn by top stars, and he's ubiquitous at Lakers and Dodgers games. Here's video of him with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, styling the walls of the social media empire's offices:
If Choe is savvy enough to move in these circles, you'd think he's savvy enough to know how to treat people. But by his own admission in last month's podcast, he treated his masseuse pretty heinously. "She's like half-black, half-white, she's a magic person," he says of the unidentified woman before describing the encounter.
Below are some excerpts from his tale, shown in the video above starting around 1:20:35. Both the tape and the transcript detail graphic coercive sexual activity.
The podcast, part of a regular sex-talk show with Choe and several co-hosts, detailed what he called an "Erection Quest" that eventually took him to his favorite massage studio—one where he says sexual contact is definitely not part of the fare—and he began to experience an erection while his massage partner is touching him:
In my head I go "Do you care if I jerk off right now?" and it sounds so creepy in my head that I go I can't say that out loud. I was like, can you keep massaging me and I'm just gonna of jerk off, okay? and I'm like, wow, that sounds so creepy.
So I go back to the chill method of you never ask first, you just do it, get in trouble and then pay the price later...
And I just start jerking off. Real slowly and sexy… So then [her] hands gets off my leg and she just stops. Now I'm just jerking off… And I look at her and she's like, oh so this is happening now?
Choe tells the woman to pretend everything's cool and keep on with the massage, "but she's not like touching anywhere near my dick," so he does what, to him, is the next logical thing: "I'm like 'Can I touch your butt?' and I do it, I reach out and touch her butt and she pulls away. She doesn't want me to touch her butt."
As his co-hosts chide him, Choe says, "I know, I'm so sorry. It's disgusting. I'm getting turned on right now just telling the story."
He convinces the massage therapist to pour oil on his penis: "She didn't want to do it, so I just take her hand and I put it on my dick. And she just holds it there… And I go, You like that? And she's like, yeah it's all right." At that point, Choe says, he starts "helping" her masturbate him, and things escalate quickly:
I was like, "spit on it." And she's like "Uh, no, I don't wanna do that." And I was like "No, spit on my dick." And she was like "No… this is crazy." You know? And it's like, she's definitely like not into it, but she's not stopping it, either.
...and I go, "Kiss it a little." And she says "No, all the massage oil is on it." I take the back of her head, and I push it down on my dick, and she doesn't do it. And I go "Open your mouth, open your mouth," and she does it and then I start facef**king her.
...And then I start grabbing her ass again, but she doesn't want me to.
After Choe climaxes in the woman's mouth, he says, "I'm still hard, and I'm ready to go again," and he unsuccessfully tries to convince her to have vaginal sex with him.
By this point, his co-hosts begin to describe his encounter as rape. But Choe doesn't see it that way. "The thrill of possibly going to jail," he says, is "what achieved the erection quest."
Choe mitigates his behavior by arguing that "she said yes with her eyes," and the co-hosts seem sympathetic to his distinction between boorish behavior and sexual assault. "I just want to make it clear that I admit that that's rapey behavior, but I am not a rapist," Choe says.
Is Choe telling the truth? Did this encounter really happen, and in the way he describes? If it's a perverse joke, it wouldn't be surprising from a self-styled iconoclast who tweets pics of caviar on a woman's anus.
If it's not a joke, though, Choe's rationale—"She's definitely like not into it, but she's not stopping it, either"—isn't exactly exculpatory.
We've reached out to David Choe to see if he can clarify what's going on here. We'll let you know if he responds.
Update: A spokesman for Choe directed us to a blog on his podcast site where he posted a response this afternoon saying he made up the story, and it's 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, I think rapists should be raped and murdered.
I am an artist and a storyteller and I view my show DVDASA as a complete extension of my art.
If I am guilty of anything, it's bad storytelling in the style of douche. Just like many of my paintings are often misinterpreted, the same goes with my show. The main objective of all of my podcasts is to challenge and provoke my friends and the co-stars on the show. We fuck with each other, entertain ourselves and laugh at each other, It's a dark, tasteless, completely irreverent show where we fuck with everyone listening, but mostly ourselves. We create stories and tell tales. It's not a news show. It's not a representation of my reality. It's not the place to come for reliable information about me or my life. It's my version of reality, it's art that sometimes offends people. I'm sorry if anyone believed that the stories were fact. They were not!
In a world full of horrible people, thank god for us.
Of course, the podcast is available above, so you're welcome to view for yourself and judge its misunderstood artistic merit.