Constance Wu remained silent on sexual harassment to protect Fresh Off the Boat’s reputation

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during one interview At the Atlantic Festival on Friday, September 23, actress Constance Wu shared her experience of being sexually harassed and intimidated by a senior production member while working on the show degrees off the boat. Wu was at the Washington DC festival to talk about her upcoming memoir. make a scenewhich will be released on October 4th. In the book, she speaks at length about her experiences with the person – whom she identifies only by the initial – during FOTBThe first two seasons.

“At some point I realized it was important to talk about it because I had a pretty traumatic experience for the first few years on the show and no one knew about it,” Wu said Atlantic Staff writer Shirley Li at the festival. She added that the decision to speak about her experience on the show was not an easy one for her and that she was “quite reluctant” to write about what happened, which is what the final essay of the book, You Do, what I say” goes.

And in a recent one interview With The New York TimesWu discussed this period of her life, all of which are described in more detail in the book. When the show first started, the producer controlled Wu in particular, demanding that he have a say in her business affairs as well as her choice of clothes. In 2015, at a sporting event, he allegedly put his hand on Wu’s thigh and brushed Wu’s crotch, an incident she dismissed at the time. Finally during FOTBIn the second season, Wu felt stronger about standing up to the producer and the two stopped talking after she refused to attend a film festival with him.

Wu explained at the festival that after the show’s popularity eased her fears of losing her job, she believed she had successfully worked through the trauma of the producer’s actions, quietly and alone. “But the thing is, bad feelings don’t just go away because you want them to,” she said. “They will inevitably come out somewhere.”

The family sitcom, which aired on ABC in 2015 and lasted five seasons, launched Wu into stardom in the role of “tiger mom” Jessica Huang, with the show itself making waves for Asian-American representation. But it was fear of jeopardizing the series’ historic reputation that kept Wu from speaking out against the producer for so long. “It was the only show on network television to star Asian Americans in over 20 years, and I didn’t want to tarnish the reputation of the one show that represents us,” she told Li.

When the show was renewed for another season in 2019, a series of frustrated tweets from Wu sparked controversy and backlash. After the extension was announced, the actor took to Twitter to say that she was “so upset” and that she was “literally crying” at the news. Even after publicly apologizing, the online backlash blamed it Crazy rich Asians Actor, ungrateful, insensitive and being a diva, which led Wu to an unsuccessful suicide attempt. Though Wu’s disappointment was partly due to the other projects that would have forced her to postpone or cancel them FOTB‘s renewal, it now makes sense why Wu would also be wary of returning to an environment that was once unsafe for her.

With tears, she said to Li:

“I wanted a new slate that I didn’t have to start with Show with all these memories of abuse. ‘Cause every day […] a few people knew it was happening, and going to work every day and seeing these people who knew he was molesting me, being buddies with him, it felt like a betrayal every time.

Though deeply personal and shaped by the same concerns that many survivors of sexual assault and harassment grapple with, Wu’s experience speaks to the more insidious dangers of limited media representation for racial minorities. There would have been less pressure FOTB’s recognition that Wu described the NYT As “the great beacon of hope for Asian Americans on the television landscape,” she might have felt safer getting the truth out without feeling like she was jeopardizing the show’s reputation.

And it seems like coming forward has really healed Wu, letting her shed some of the fears that once held her back. “I’m relieved to get this book out,” she told the NYT. “I feel like it’s more representative of me than me being on a press tour for a film that breaks barriers to Asian representation.” Constance Wu remained silent on sexual harassment to protect Fresh Off the Boat’s reputation

Andrew Schnitker

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