In an emotional interview with Seth Meyers on Monday, Constance Wu provided new context for her controversial 2019 tweets about Fresh Off the Boat‘s renewal, alleging that a producer’s harassment was behind her dismay with the show’s pickup.
When ABC renewed Fresh Off the Boat for Season 6 in May 2019, Wu was publicly unhappy with the decision; when a fan tweeted that the pickup was “great news,” Wu replied, “No it’s not.” At the time, Wu also tweeted, “F—king hell” and “So upset right now that I’m literally crying. Ugh. F—k.” She later said her posts were “ill-timed” and that she was actually “so grateful” that the comedy would be coming back for another season. One day later, she further clarified that she was disappointed because the renewal meant she’d have to pass on “another project I was really passionate about.”
On Monday’s episode of Late Night, though, Wu explained that her disappointment with the show’s renewal was largely due to sexual harassment and emotional abuse she says she’d experienced at the hands of a Fresh Off the Boat producer, whom she has declined to name. In her new memoir Making a Scene (released today), Wu alleges that the producer repeatedly demonstrated controlling and harassing behavior, including telling her to send him selfies and gatekeeping her business decisions; on Late Night, Wu also referenced the producer’s “inappropriate touching, the telling me to wear short skirts, the intimidation.”
As Wu told Meyers, the producer’s abuse was mostly kept to Fresh Off the Boat‘s first two years on the air, after which she “felt a little bit of job security” and “started saying no,” which allegedly “infuriated” the man in question. Not wanting to “stain the reputation of [Fresh Off the Boat] or of this producer,” Wu stayed silent publicly about the experience, but she said her tweets about the show’s pickup were ultimately an outlet for her frustration.
“I feel like I was never able to really be myself on set, because I’d see my abuser being buddy-buddy with everybody else, knowing what he had done to me,” she shared. “The thing I learned is that bad feelings and abuse don’t just go away because you will it to. It’s going to come out somewhere. People didn’t understand the context of those tweets.
“Thank you for not making fun of [the tweets], because it led me to a really dark time,” an emotional Wu continued to Meyers. (In July of this year, the actress divulged that the intense backlash she’d received for her tweets led her to attempt suicide.) “I decided to include [the tweet controversy] in the book because I think it’s important that we engage in curiosity and empathy before we go straight to judgment. Because if somebody does something out of character for them, it usually means something’s going on in their life.”
Watch Wu and Meyers’ full conversation in the video embedded above.