Wu, who only uses the production member’s initial, alleged that he controlled her, demanded she ask for approval for all her business ventures, and told her what to wear. Wu claimed she at first viewed him as a friend and mentor, but she then became fearful about what would happen if she didn’t oblige.
“‘Fresh Off the Boat’ was my first-ever TV show. I was thrown into this world,” Wu told The New York Times. “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.”
In 2015, the production team member touched Wu’s thigh at a sporting event and later grazed her crotch area. A later argument during Season 2 of “Fresh Off the Boat,” which ran from 2015 to 2020, led to Wu cutting ties with the production team member in question; the argument was over whether or not she would accompany him to a film festival. ABC declined to comment on the allegations.
In 2019, Wu tweeted, “Fucking hell” and “So upset right now that I’m literally crying. Ugh. Fuck.” after the ABC sitcom was renewed for a sixth season. Wu later clarified, “Todays tweets were on the heels of rough day&were ill timed w/the news of the show. Plz know, Im so grateful for FOTB renewal. I love the cast&crew. Im proud to be a part of it. For all the fans support, thank u & for all who support my casual use of the word fuck-thank u too.”
Wu’s self-proclaimed “careless tweets” were met with backlash, leading Wu to attempt suicide.
Now, the “Crazy Rich Asians” actress reflected to NYT about her “Fresh Off the Boat” journey.
“I had a public image that was not very much like myself. I’m not really that wholesome of a person,” Wu said. “I try not to make myself out to be a hero. I try to make myself out to be a pretty normal person who has flaws like everybody else. I’m not really into the actor memoir where it’s like, ‘I overcame the odds, and I’m this person who was humble and just kept working. I was the victim.’ It’s less black and white than simply victim and perpetrator.”
Wu addressed racism in Hollywood, as well as being told she was a “disgrace to Asian Americans” and a “blight” on the community.
“Whenever I didn’t get a part, I never thought it was because I was Asian, I always thought it was because I was not pretty enough or not talented enough,” Wu said. “Now that I’m in Hollywood, I don’t think that’s the case. I see how the machine works. I think those casting decisions have more to do with public perception, social media numbers. But I think race plays into all of it.”
Wu continued, “It was almost gleeful. It was almost like they couldn’t wait to tear me down. I think the Asian community in Hollywood is still hyper-focused on positive representation, which to me is an illusion. Whole, human representation is more complex. And I think it’s interesting to me how, at that time, when I most could have used their help, they were the people who shamed me.”
Wu currently stars in “The Terminal List” and the upcoming film “Lyle, Lyle Crocodile.” She also stars in “East Bay,” writer/director Daniel Yoon’s portrait of the son of Asian immigrants living in the Bay Area and undergoing a coming-of-age crisis. Wu is additionally set to reprise her role in “Crazy Rich Asians” for the slated sequel.