Spring television renewal announcements can be an emotional time. Casts, crews, and ardent fans can find out in a single social media status that their projects, jobs, or weekly obsessions have been obliterated.
When Fresh Off The Boat, ABC’s successful comedy about a Taiwanese-American family’s adventures excitedly announced they would be renewed for a sixth season, everybody seemed thrilled. Except for leading actress Constance Wu.
In a now-deleted storm of angry and expletive-laced tweets, Wu declared sorrow, shock, and anger that the show would be continuing.
It got worse. When one fan attempted to congratulate her, she bitterly rebuffed the praise. On FOTB’s Instagram post, she even commented “dislike” from her public account.
When one confused netizen tried to get Wu to clarify her comments, she grew hostile and defensive, accusing them of making dangerous assumptions about her words and twisting them around.
More criticism followed shortly after. Many see Wu as ungrateful for complaining when many shows were not renewed and Asian Americans are still struggling to find representation and work in the entertainment industry. Others felt that she was disrespecting her fellow castmates and crew, as well as the show that helped make her a movie star by propelling her towards Crazy Rich Asians.
After deleting most of her posts, Wu posted a long statement to Twitter, where she attempted to say that she is grateful for the show, but that the sixth season’s renewal interfered with a new project and acting role she desired.
She then invoked the #MeToo movement by claiming that it would be meaningful for people to believe her words as a woman.
These words are my truth. I hope you hear them pic.twitter.com/l6SvbFcUlj
— Constance Wu (@ConstanceWu) May 11, 2019
For many entertainers and activists, the last line was completely out of bounds. They felt Wu’s equating the fallout from her words with victims of sexual assault was not only ugly and misguided, but that it also hurt and undermined actual victims.
Believe women? You weren’t sexually assaulted you were given a multimillion dollar contract extension. https://t.co/HqsJxJQMDF
— Seth Abramovitch (@SethAbramovitch) May 11, 2019
Other netizens poked fun at the actress with one editing her Wikipedia page and another making a joke about whitewashing actress Scarlett Johansson taking over her role.
Just call Scarlett Johansson to replace Constance Wu no one will know the difference pic.twitter.com/tHvUxaFZGD
— Big Baller Branden (@BrandenCarter4) May 10, 2019
The drama intensified when Gemma Chan, another rising film actress and Wu’s costar in the CRA franchise appeared to Favorite a tweet where journalist Yeshar Ali called her out, declaring “”Constance Wu’s conduct today comes as no surprise to anyone who has worked with her in recent years. She has a reputation for being rude, petty, mean-spirited, and ungrateful.”
Ali later deleted the post. Chan also tried to run damage control by alleging that she had Liked the tweet by accident.
For many though, it was a not-so-subtle confirmation of everything Wu’s critics had been asserting.
Constance Wu, may not be fresh off the boat when it comes to stardom, but she has a lot to learn about social media still.
While there are users who leapt to Wu’s defense and feel that she is being unfairly treated as a woman of color for voicing an opinion, the mass majority seem quite unhappy with her words and behavior.