The Crazy Rich Asians star revealed that she initially "didn't want to write" about what she had experienced while filming the first two seasons of the ABC show while visiting Late Night With Seth Meyers on Monday.
"That was the last essay I wrote for the book, and only after being, like, pushed by my editor, like, 'You should write about this. This is what people want to hear,'" she told host Seth Meyers. "And I was like, 'I'm done with that chapter in my life.'"
In the novel, Wu alleges that the producer, who she calls M—, often intervened on her business matters, kept tabs on her and her friends, made inappropriate jokes and comments about her physical appearance, and once physically harassed her at a basketball game. Wu told Meyers that, as a newcomer in the acting world at the time, she was fearful of retaliation if she spoke out.
"I had never done anything big before. I had just graduated from being a waitress. I was scared of being fired," she said. "Once I, sort of, felt a little bit of job security then I started saying no to this producer, which infuriated him. But it was okay, so I thought, 'You know what? I handled it. I don't need to stain the reputation of this show or of this producer. I can just keep it inside.'"
As a result, Wu recalled that she was "never really able to be myself on set," adding, "I'd see my abuser being buddy-buddy with everyone else, knowing what he had done to me."
Lloyd Bishop/NBC Constance Wu during an appearance on 'Late Night With Seth Meyers' on October 3, 2022.
But burying it didn't help either — in fact, Wu said that her repressed hurt is part of what led to her strong reaction to the show's renewal for a sixth season, which she shared on Twitter. ("So upset right now that I'm literally crying," Wu tweeted at the time. "Ugh.")
"The thing I learned is that bad feelings and abuse don't just go away because you will it to. It's gonna come out somewhere," Wu said as she began to cry. "I think people didn't understand the context of those tweets. And thank you for not making fun of it, because it led me to a really dark time." In July, Wu revealed that the backlash she received online led her to attempt to take her own life.
"I decided to include it in the book because I think it's important that we engage in curiosity and empathy before we go straight to judgment," she shared. "Because if somebody does something that is out of character for them, it usually means something is going on in their life."
During an interview with Good Morning America, Wu said that she is "of course" fearful of future backlash after sharing her experience in her novel, noting that there's "not much to be gained when survivors tell their stories."
Wu also noted that the harassment occurred "before the #MeToo movement" as well. "I was just like, 'Nobody's going to believe me,'" she said on Late Night. "I didn't know what to do."
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