Constance Wu has revealed, per a new New York Times interview, that she was sexually harassed by a “senior member of the production team” on her breakout ABC sitcom, Fresh Off The Boat.
Wu details stories of the harassment in one of the 18 essays that make up her new book Making A Scene, in which the FOTB staffer is identified only with an initial—and even then, said identifier is kept out of the Times interview. In talking about the events, which she alleges involved possessiveness, controlling behavior, and one instance in which the unnamed producer touched her inappropriately, Wu notes that they took place during her first two seasons on the series, when she was still a newcomer to the world of TV acting. As she gained experience (and as the show became a hit, raising her profile considerably), it became easier to say no to the demands.
Here’s Wu talking at The Atlantic Festival today, fielding questions about this topic:
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.”
Elsewhere in the book, Wu details numerous other aspects of her career—including the incident in which she tweeted negatively about the show’s surprise renewal in 2019, drawing considerable ire from fans and peers alike, an outpouring of negativity that she has previously said eventually led to a suicide attempt. In the Times piece, Wu tentatively draws a link between her negative experiences on the show’s set to her public upset at the renewal: “Maybe those tweets, she said, were a release valve, the culmination of negative emotions and frustrations at being forced to pretend that everything on the show was actually OK. ‘I felt betrayed and trapped,’ said Ms. Wu.”
Making A Scene is out in hardcover on October 4.