On the heels of her candid interview with the New York Times, the actress opened up about why she didn't want to share her story until the publication of her new memoir, Making a Scene, during an emotional Monday night appearance on the Late Night Show.
“To be honest, I didn’t want to write about that,” Wu told Seth Meyers. “That was the last essay I wrote for the book, and only after being pushed by my editor — like, ‘You should write about this. This is what people want to hear.’ And I was like, ‘I’m done with that chapter in my life.' Because all of the sexual harassment, the inappropriate touching, the telling me to wear short skirts and intimidation — that all only happened in the first two years of the show, when I was still very scared.”
According to her essay, Wu was allegedly harassed by an unnamed senior producer on the show, who she only refers to as "M." As she reiterated to Meyers, M went from a friend and mentor to a controlling intimidator that would often tell her what to wear, make inappropriate comments about her appearance, obtain his approval on business endeavors and once allegedly touched her thigh and grazed her crotch at a Lakers game.
However, Wu told the talk show host that she was scared into silence, explaining that she'd "never done anything big" in Hollywood before, as she "had just graduated from being a waitress."
"I was scared of being fired," Wu continued, adding that she could "never really able to be myself on set" and was always forced to see her "abuser being buddy-buddy with everyone else, knowing what he had done to me."
But since this happened before the #MeToo movement, she remembered thinking that "'Nobody’s gonna believe me.'" In fact, she only "starting saying 'no' to this producer" after she "felt a little bit of job security," even though it supposedly "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.'"
That said, Wu went on to say that her repressed trauma ended up surfacing in a controversial 2019 tweet about how upset she was that Fresh Off the Boat had been renewed for a sixth season, which elicited major backlash from those who believed she was being ungrateful for an opportunity that had a profound impact on Asian American media representation.
"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," she said of the controversy, which she says led her to attempt suicide and eventually receive treatment at a mental health facility in Making a Scene.
"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," Wu continued, before saying that she finally decided to talk about her experience in the book "because I think it's important that we engage in curiosity and empathy before we go straight to judgment."
She added, "Because if somebody does something that is out of character for them, it usually means something is going on in their life."
Watch Wu's entire interview on the Late Show below.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Photo via Getty / Theo Wargo
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