Netflix’s “Beef” has won the Golden Globe for best television limited series.
The A24-produced comedy-drama, which stars actor Steven Yeun and comedian Ali Wong, made history by becoming the first show created by and starring Asian Americans to win in its category.
“Our show is actually based on a real road rage incident that actually happened to me, so I’d be remiss not to thank that driver,” creator Lee Sung Jin joked while accepting the award. “Sir, I hope you honk and yell and inspire others for years to come.”
The four other nominees were “All the Light We Cannot See,” “Daisy Jones and the Six,” “Fargo” and “Lessons in Chemistry.”
Leads Wong and Yeun both took home acting Golden Globes for their roles in Beef earlier in the night, as well.
“Beef,” which was released on Netflix in April, revolves around the struggling, high-strung contractor Danny, played by Yeun, and the successful but unfulfilled business owner Amy, portrayed by Wong. After the pair cross paths in a fit of road rage, each becomes fixated on destroying the other; all the while, their own lives are collapsing around them.
The series quickly gained critical acclaim and was praised for its depiction of the Korean American evangelical experience, as well as several other aspects of race and Asian American life. However, it quickly became marred by controversy after the resurfacing of 2014 comments by artist David Choe, a cast member, detailing his self-proclaimed “rapey behavior” toward a Black masseuse. The comments were criticized as glorifying and making light of rape and sexual assault. At the time, Choe wrote on the website of his now-defunct podcast, “DVDASA,” that the story was a fabrication, calling the podcast a “complete extension of my art.”
When the incident came up again in 2017, Choe said in a statement that he “relayed a story simply for shock value.”
“Though I said those words, I did not commit those actions. It did not happen,” he said at the time.
Choe continued to draw ire when tweets that were critical of his behavior, which included clips from the podcast, were removed from Twitter and labeled with a “report from the copyright holder” notice. An email obtained by NBC News, sent from Twitter and addressed to Meecham Whitson Meriweather — one of two social media users whose tweets were removed — listed Choe as the copyright holder and the party who had requested the takedown.
Viewers also criticized the show’s initial decision to cast Choe despite his history of controversial behavior. On the podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience,” Choe said Yeun and Wong, longtime friends of his, had presented him with the opportunity to be on the show, marking his first major foray into acting.
In a joint statement, Lee, the show’s creator, as well as Yeun and Wong, who also serve as executive producers, seemed to defend Choe.
“The story David Choe fabricated nine years ago is undeniably hurtful and extremely disturbing. We do not condone this story in any way, and we understand why this has been so upsetting and triggering,” the three said in the statement. “We’re aware David has apologized in the past for making up this horrific story, and we’ve seen him put in the work to get the mental health support he needed over the last decade to better himself and learn from his mistakes.”
“Beef” is expected to have a successful awards season, having already won two Gotham Independent Film Awards last year and nabbed several nominations for the coming Emmy Awards, Independent Spirit Awards and Critics’ Choice Television Awards, among others.
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