I Got Punched In The Face And Then Fired For Refusing To Give a Customer Oral Sex

Choe’s masseuse “Rose” may be fictitious, but we unfortunately live in a world full of “Roses.”

Apr 23, 2014 at 5:00pm | Leave a comment

After nonchalantly sharing a graphic story on his podcast in which he allegedly coerces a parlor masseuse into having oral sex, David Choe is saddened to be labeled a rapist -- because, he claims, his latest “erection quest” was just an extension of artistic expression.  
 
The Choe story appeared first here on xoJane, subsequently Gawker and the Daily Mail picked it up, and according to BuzzFeed, VICE is “reviewing Choe’s story and still considering whether or not to work with him in the future.” A petition to have his work taken out of the White House has also started to circulate. 
 
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This picture was taken a few days before the assault.

 
Choe writes in response to the backlash:
“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.” 
 
Isn’t that always the go-to defense? Be it plagiarism, theft, or attempted rape, artists gotta do art so the rest of us need to just deal with it and look the other way. Art should spark a conversation, but accountability and repercussions don’t necessarily apply because above all things, ART!   
 
If you don’t want to be called a rapist, maybe pretending to be one for entertainment value isn’t the ideal move? For a guy that hates rapists, Choe sure as hell has a soft-off for enthusiastic consent. He also seems pretty comfortable normalizing coercion. In his mind being a rapist is reprehensible, but "rapey behavior" is OK.
 
I love podcasts. I listen to many and host a few. To podcast is to over-share, I get that. I’m not averse to telling personal stories that are sexual in nature. Anyone can hear the story of me throwing up during sex right here. It’s out in Internet land forever. There’s nothing wrong with finding humor in the crass or unexpected WTF-ness of life and telling the world. I do think there’s something wrong with presenting sexual coercion and assault as a zany happenstance. 
 
According to Choe, his podcasts exist to “challenge and provoke my friends and the co-stars on the show.” But it’s not really for friends and co-stars when you turn it into mass media. It would seem that even some of his show’s loyal listeners were surprised to find out that what was being presented to them was an act. What exactly is he challenging with his art here? 
 
Choe’s masseuse “Rose” may be fictitious, but we unfortunately live in a world full of “Roses.” I’ve been a Rose, and Choe can screw right off for downplaying sexual assault as quirky behavior, and even more dangerously so, as a masculinity-affirming act. I can’t help but think of how many people listened to that podcast and thought to themselves, “See I’m not a rapist, I’m just rape-y, rape-lite. I am the Fresca of sexual assault.” 
 
I imagine the smug grin of the man who got me fired from my first gig as an exotic dancer. I had done well for a promoter who threw BBW nights at strip clubs around the country. He invited me to dance at a penthouse party. I was a junior in college and textbooks aren’t cheap, so I figured what the hell. 
 
When I arrived everything seemed legit. There was security, at least a dozen other dancers, and the place was clean. I did a floorshow and passed out flutes of drinks and was making bank. It seemed like it would be a fruitful but uneventful night. Until one particular customer took notice of me. 
 
He begged me to sell him my panties, and followed me around as I served drinks, stood around until other guys left. Eventually I excused myself to go to the bathroom, but actually snuck off to find a security guard to get the guy off my back. I was told not to cause trouble, to just sell that man my thong already. So I did.  
 
To the surprise of no one, it only made him pursue me more. Fed up, I decided to leave. 
 
When I went back to the promoter to give him my tip out, he told me that someone had requested a private dance. Textbooks wouldn’t pay for themselves, so I went to VIP. I pulled back the curtain to find panty-dude. 
 
He asked me what would he get for VIP, I told him he would get a dance. He didn’t look happy with my answer. He asked me to dance nude, I explained that I was not a nude dancer. He started becoming agitated. I agreed to dance to an extra song to “make up” for keeping my lingerie on. 
 
Not even a minute into the first song he took his ashy penis out and wagged it expectantly at me. I went for the curtain. He offered me $500 dollars to have condom-free oral sex with him. I refused. He punched me. 
 
He grabbed a fistful of my hair and tried pulling me headfirst into his crotch, I started swinging madly to escape, trying to rip off whatever chunk of him I could grab.  I must have landed a lucky hit because he let me go. After frantically explaining what happened to security, I was told go get cleaned up. 
 
The promoter barged into the changing room furious. I was half-naked and crying. He made it clear that he didn’t have time for “stuck-up college bitches.” He called me uppity. He told me I’d never work for him again. He threatened to have me banned from every club in NYC. 
 
I got punched in the face for refusing to blow a guy, and then was fired for inconveniencing my attacker’s fist with my face. My attacker faced no repercussions and I was fired. I spent the train ride home holding a wad of napkins to my busted lip and wondering if I was better off fighting. 
 
I can imagine that asshole recounting the time he just couldn’t help getting an erection at a party, how this one mixed bitch with a big ass talked to him all night, sold him her panties and then freaked out.  She didn’t want to get naked, but he could tell by her eyes that “no” meant “yes.” Then out of NOWHERE this crazy bitch gets cold feet. His friends would laugh, call him “so messed up” everyone would have another beer. It’s skeevy -- but it's not attempted rape? 
 
These violations are happening everyday. Those who commit them rationalize it away. Their victims were willing, not afraid of violence. They weren’t THAT drunk.  It wasn’t that the power dynamic fell far out of their favor. It wasn’t that they were in shock. They just must have liked it. 
 
Choe now claims Rose is fiction, but her story is anything but fiction for so many. Saying this episode is just his “edgy” brand of art is to erase its harm. Where’s the edge in producing theatrical rape apologia? There’s nothing daring about upholding the status quo. When you create “art” that targets the silenced and at risk you are a coward.