Constance Wu Reveals she was sexually harassed on ‘Fresh Off the Boat’
Constance Wu has revealed that her early years on Fresh Off the Boat were marred by some unwanted attention from a producer.
“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 Friday at the Atlantic Festival in Washington D.C., per The Hollywood Reporter.
“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.'”
Wu starred in the hit sitcom as Jessica Huang, the mother in a Taiwanese-American family living in Orlando, Fla., in the late ’90s. She played the character for all six seasons, which aired from Feb. 2015 to Feb. 2020. Experiences she had there and elsewhere are part of her memoir, Making a Scene, which comes out Oct. 4.
Constance Wu explained that her publisher, Simon & Schuster, encouraged her to be open about what happened. And at first, she wrote about it as an exercise.
“And then I eventually realized it was important to talk about, because I did have a pretty traumatic experience in my first couple years on that show, and nobody knew about it.” Wu said.
“Because that show was historic for Asian Americans. And 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.”
“Fresh Off the Boat was my first-ever TV show,” Wu told the newspaper. “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.”
She and her harasser stopped speaking after she refused to go to a film festival with him.
Wu said at the D.C. appearance that the harassment was part of the reason she was ready for Fresh off the Boat to end.