Constance Wu alleges that a senior producer controlled and sexually harassed her while working on ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat.”
Wu, 40, opened up about the allegations she made in her book “Making a Scene” ahead of its release with The New York Times. In the chapter titled "You Do What I Say," the “Crazy Rich Asians” star wrote that a senior producer of “Fresh Off the Boat” sexually harassed her during the first year of the hit series.
Constance Wu, set to release a new memoir, spoke to The New York Times about her tweets that set off a firestorm, representation in Hollywood and the tendency to not criticize work that breaks boundaries in an industry so resistant to change. https://t.co/tTZph0Dkod pic.twitter.com/uxarW1u5Mr
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 24, 2022
“‘Fresh Off the Boat’ was my first-ever TV show,” Wu explains in her book. “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.”
Wu said the harassment happened in 2015 when the senior producer, who she only referred to by his initial, “M,” started controlling her and telling her what to wear. The “Hustlers” star also revealed in her book that the producer asked her to send him selfies and told her to run her business by him before making decisions.
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The producer then allegedly convinced her to come with him to a Lakers game one night in 2015. Wu recalled how he placed his hand on her thigh while they were watching the game and then grazed her crotch. Wu and the producer brushed off the incident after the actor found a way to politely ask him to stop.
The Asian American actor said she eventually found the courage to deny his demands after the second season of “Fresh Off the Boat.” She recalled how she had an “explosive argument” with him after telling him she would not be attending an Asian American film festival with him so that she could recuperate from her hectic show schedule.
Wu said that particular interaction soured their relationship, and the two stopped talking to each other. The actor eventually forgave the producer so she could move on, she recalled.
“The Terminal List” star also said she did not want to point fingers or demand accountability from the producer.
“I didn’t want to sully such a great beacon of hope for Asian Americans in the television landscape. I didn’t want to stain that,” Wu told The New York Times.
During a panel discussion with The Atlantic on Friday to promote her book, Wu admitted that she kept her mouth shut “for a really long time” about the incident.
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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
“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,” Wu said.
“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.’”
Wu returned to social media in July after a three-year “off the grid recovering” to promote her upcoming projects. In one of her tweets, the actor revealed that she survived a suicide attempt following the backlash she encountered after tweeting about the Season 6 renewal of "Fresh Off the Boat."
“Making a Scene” is scheduled for release on Oct. 4.
Featured Image via The Atlantic