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Constance Wu has alleged she faced “sexual harassment and intimidation” on the set of Fresh Off the Boat.
The 40-year-old actress claims that she was harassed by a producer on the sitcom but she did not go public with her allegations until now because she wanted to protect the show and its impact on the Asian American community.
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Speaking during an appearance Friday at the Atlantic Festival in Washington, D.C., to promote her new book Making a Scene, Constance said: “My publisher really encouraged me to write (about) it … I was like, ‘No I’m done with that chapter in my life’. And then I eventually realized it was important to talk about because I did have a pretty traumatic experience my first couple years on that show, and nobody knew about it because that show was historic for Asian Americans.
“It was the only show on network television in over 20 years to star Asian Americans, and I did not want to sully the reputation of the one show we had representing us. 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.”
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
Constance added that once the show became “a success,” she felt more confident about saying “no” to the unidentified producer.
She said: “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.’
“The thing is bad feelings don’t go away just because you will them to. They are inevitably going to come out somewhere.”
Constance also clarified that her 2019 tweet, expressing disappointment about the show’s renewal, was because she wanted a “clean slate” away from the harassment.
She said: “I made some very profane, reckless tweets that sort of ignited this whole pile-on of hatred towards me because I just had a hit movie, Crazy Rich Asians, so it looked really bad from the outside. Like, ‘Oh, she thinks she’s this big movie star.’ When really, 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, it felt like a betrayal every time. And I don’t blame them because he could fire them too.
“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.”