Note: This article contains detailed mention of sexual harassment, as well as suicide.
Constance Wu said she was sexually harassed by a senior member of the “Fresh Off the Boat” production team during her first two seasons on the ABC sitcom, according to the New York Times, which reported on the allegations that she reveals in her forthcoming memoir.
In “Making a Scene,” which will be published Oct. 4, the “Crazy Rich Asians” star claimed that the producer — who is only named by an initial — was controlling and demanded that she run all of her business endeavors past him and told her what to wear.
“‘Fresh Off the Boat’ was my first-ever TV show,” she said. “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.”
The “Hustlers” actress wrote that in 2015 after she and the man had attended a sporting event, he allegedly placed his hand on her thigh and grazed her crotch. She found a way to politely stop him, and the two seemingly brushed off the incident as if it had never happened. Once Season 2 of “Fresh Off the Boat” rolled around, she said she felt more empowered to say “no,” and an argument between the two of them over whether she would accompany him to a film festival led them to not speak to each other again.
Wu wrote that she is not interested in “pointing fingers” or demanding accountability from the producer, according to the Times, but rather needed to come forward with the story for her own sake. She also addressed the Twitter storm that erupted back in 2019, when she expressed her expletive-laden frustration with the 20th Century Fox show’s renewal, stating that those statements were likely the result of the years-long suppression of these negative on-set experiences. “I felt betrayed and trapped,” she said. Over that summer, the actress came forward to state that the intense backlash to the tweets led her to attempt to take her life.
In a separate interview released Friday, Wu said she did not speak up at the time for fear of repercussions and damage to her then-fledgling career: “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,” she said during the Atlantic Festival. “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.’”
TheWrap has reached out to reps at 20th and ABC for comment.