Constance Wu Says ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ Alleged Harassment Spurred Those Renewal Tweets
Constance Wu was met with backlash when she tweeted complaints about Fresh Off the Boat‘s Season 6 renewal in May 2019. In a Monday, October 3 appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, she revealed the tweets were prompted by the sexual harassment she says she faced at the hands of one of the show’s senior producers while filming the sitcom.
Back in 2019, one Twitter user said the show being renewed was “great news.” Wu replied saying, “No, it’s not.” Subsequent tweets said “F***ing hell” and “So upset right now that I’m literally crying. Ugh. F**k.” The Crazy Rich Asians star received quick criticism across social media, prompting her to respond with, “Todays tweets were on the heels of rough day&were ill timed w/the news of the show. Plz know, Im so grateful for FOTB renewal. I love the cast&crew. Im proud to be a part of it. For all the fans support, thank u & for all who support my casual use of the word f**k-thank u too.” One day later, she tweeted that the renewal meant she had to decline “another project I was really passionate about.”
Wu’s new memoir, Making a Scene, and her Late Night appearance give context to those heated remarks. In the book, the Hustlers star says the producer (whom she only refers to with an initial) sexually harassed her by putting his hand on her thigh and grazing her crotch at a basketball game during Fresh Off the Boat‘s early years. As time went on, she says he displayed increasingly controlling behavior towards her, demanding that she consult him on business dealings, telling her how to style herself, and requesting late-night selfies.
She kept the information to herself for years to protect the show, as it was one of the few shows about Asian American families on TV at the time — and, as she noted to Seth Meyers, it happened before the #MeToo movement. Wu detailed the “inappropriate touching, the telling me to wear short skirts, the intimidation” on Late Night, saying the harassment lasted about two years. The ABC comedy was her breakout role, which made her feel “scared” and powerless to address the harassment.
After the show established itself, Wu said, she “felt a little bit of job security” and “started saying no,” which she said “infuriated” the producer. Even then, and until now, Wu did not want to “stain the reputation of [Fresh Off the Boat] or of this producer.” And she was initially hesitant to discuss any of this in her memoir.
“I feel like I was never able to really be myself on set, because I’d see my abuser being buddy-buddy with everybody else, knowing what he had done to me,” she told Meyers. “The thing I learned is that bad feelings and abuse don’t just go away because you will it to. It’s going to come out somewhere. People didn’t understand the context of those tweets.”
Through tears, Wu thanked Meyers for not making fun of the tweets, the backlash of which led her to “a really dark time.” (The actor shared in July 2022 that the social media swarming led to a suicide attempt.) She wrote about the entire ordeal now because “I think it’s important that we engage in curiosity and empathy before we go straight to judgment. Because if somebody does something out of character for them, it usually means something’s going on in their life.”
Meyers praised her honesty, saying the alleged harassment she faced was an undue burden no one should have to deal with.