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Arts and Entertainment

Street Artist Who Bragged About 'Rapey Behavior' With Masseuse Says His Story Was 'Art'

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David Choe is a Los Angeles street artist whose work has hung in the White House and who is perhaps best known for making a boatload of money from Facebook stock he was offered in the company's early days.

Choe hosts a podcast with porn star Asa Akira called DVDASA. On an episode last month, he spoke at length about an encounter with a masseuse he calls "Rose," who works at a high-end spa in Los Angeles. (Nobody really picked up on this episode until an XO Jane wrote about it last week.) Choe says that during the massage, he got an erection when Rose started talking about a prowler in her neighborhood who breaks into people's homes and masturbates to victims while they're sleeping. Choe says that he asks if he can start masturbating during the massage even though he admits that it sounds "creepy" and he knows it's not that kind of massage place.

The story is already gross, but it gets worse. Just about everything up until the end of the massage sounds like a nonconsensual encounter: Rose flinches when Choe reaches out to touch her butt, she tells him she doesn't want to perform oral sex on him and initially refuses to open her mouth when he forces her head down on him:

"She’s definitely not into it, but she’s not stopping it either. I say, ‘Kiss it a little,’ she says, ‘No, all the massage oil is on it,’ and I take the back of her head and I push it down on my dick and she doesn’t do it. And I say, ‘Open your mouth, open your mouth,’ and she does it and I start facefucking her."
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Akira compares his story to the allegations against John Travolta, and she says over and over that what he's describing sounds like textbook rape. Choe offers up quite a few excuses, "She said yes with her eyes." And, "I will admit that's rapey behavior, but I am not a rapist." He says that he decided to go for it because Rose seemed like she wouldn't protest, "It doesn't seem like she's going to freak out that crazy if I start jerking off right away."

Choe says the thrill of doing something that could be considered illegal is what got him off:

I mean, I would have been in a lot of trouble right now if I put her hand on my dick and she’s like, ‘Fucking stop I’m gonna go call security.’ That would have been a much different story. But the thrill of possibly going to jail, that’s what achieved the erection quest.

Choe tries to get her to have sex with him but she refuses, saying that she is afraid that she would fall in love with him. He says Rose confessed to having a crush on him, made out with him and then asked for his number. Choe said he offered her $1,000 but she refused because she didn't want to feel like a sex worker. Choe says he gave her the wrong number.

Akira says that the twist where Rose resists Choe right up until the end and then confesses her love doesn't ring true: "I feel like something in this story is missing, no offense." She adds in that just because Rose didn't run away screaming initially, doesn't mean that she wasn't offended by it.

He closed the show saying,"I think I'm going to cut this show short because I don't want to go to jail."

But now Choe is facing a lot of blowback. He issued an apology on his website claiming that the stories he tells on the podcast are a part of his misunderstood art and totally not true:

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!

Choe is supposed to be featured on an episode of the HBO show Vice, and now Vice is reviewing his story.

If you want to listen to experience Choe's artistic expression yourself, skip ahead to the 1:13-minute mark:

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