Constance Wu Alleges ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ Producer Sexually Harassed Her
In her new memoir Making a Scene and in press interviews, Constance Wu is reflecting on her breakout role on the 2015 ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat — and delving into the behind-the-scenes emotional turmoil that led her to express despair on Twitter when the show was renewed.
Wu claims in one essay in the book that a senior producer on Fresh Off the Boat — whom she names only by an initial — sexually harassed her, putting his hand on her thigh at a basketball game and then grazing her crotch, as Entertainment Weekly reports.
“Aside from that basketball game, he never touched me inappropriately,” the actress writes. “To be honest, it didn’t feel like a big deal at the time. I was fine. Happy, even! I was genuinely grateful for his support, and it made him feel good to protect me, too. It was a win-win situation where he was the helpful to my helpless. But to maintain that dynamic he needed me to be helpless. And for a while… I was.”
Wu says the producer was also controlling toward her, demanding that she consult him on business matters, telling her what to wear and how to style her hair, and asking her for late-night selfies, per EW.
But she tried to endure that behavior, as she told The New York Times. “Fresh Off the Boat was my first-ever TV show. I was thrown into this world. I don’t have parents in the industry. And because I was 30, people thought I knew what I was doing. It made me paranoid and embarrassed.” (Through its representatives, ABC declined comment to both EW and The New York Times.)
I had a pretty traumatic experience my first couple of years on ‘Fresh Off the Boat,’ @ConstanceWu says at #TAF22. “That show was historic for Asian Americans … and I did not want to sully the reputation of the one show we had representing us. So I kept my mouth shut.” pic.twitter.com/fR4KJyYoKm
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) September 23, 2022
Wu also discussed her time on the show at the Atlantic Festival in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Sept. 23. “I kept my mouth shut for a really long time about a lot of sexual harassment and intimidation that I received the first two seasons of the show,” she said during a discussion of her memoir. “Because after the first two seasons, once it was a success, once I was no longer scared of losing my job, that’s when I was able to start saying no to the harassment, no to the intimidation, from this particular producer. And, so I thought, ‘You know what? I handled it. Nobody has to know. I don’t have to stain this Asian-American producer’s reputation. I don’t have to stain the reputation of the show.’ But the thing is, bad feelings don’t go away just because you will them to.”