[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
Constance Wu is speaking out about a horrible experience she had with a producer while on Fresh Off the Boat.
According to The New York Times, the 40-year-old actress alleged in her upcoming memoir Making a Scene that she was sexually harassed by a senior member of the production team during her first year on the ABC sitcom. In the book, she claimed that from the start, the producer – who she only identified by an initial – had exhibited controlling behavior such as demanding “that she run all her business matters past him and telling her what to wear.” Constance said she tolerated it for a while as she was worried about the “consequences” if she told anyone about it. As she explained to the newspaper:
“‘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.”
In one instance, the Crazy Rich Asians star recalled she and the producer attended a sporting event together in 2015, where he allegedly “placed his hand on her thigh” and grazed her crotch. She asked him to stop, and the pair seemingly brushed off the terrible moment as if it never happened. So, so awful…
But once season two of Fresh Off the Boat began, Constance said she felt more empowered to say “no” to the producer. Eventually, the two stopped speaking to each other when they got into an explosive argument over whether Constance would attend a film festival with him. At the Atlantic Festival on Friday, Variety reported that the Hustlers star further opened up about why she did not speak up about the situation with the producer sooner, saying:
“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. 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.’”
She also addressed her controversial tweets about how upset she was over the show’s renewal for a sixth season back in 2019, stating that those statements were probably a result of the harassment and negative on-set experiences. Constance told The Atlantic on Friday:
“I wanted to have a fresh slate where I didn’t have to start a show with all these memories of abuse. A few people knew [the harassment] was happening, and to go to work every day and see those people who knew that he was sexually harassing me being ‘buddy-buddy’ with him felt like a betrayal every time. I loved everybody on that crew, and I loved working on that show, but it had that history of abuse that it started with, and even though I handled it after two years, I was looking forward to a clean slate.”
In July, Constance revealed that she disappeared from Twitter for three years as she was struggling with her mental health and had attempted suicide following the intense backlash. Just another important reminder that you never know what someone is going through or what they’re struggling with behind the scenes. We appreciate Constance for sharing her truth.
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[Image via Adriana M. Barraza/WENN]