Sharing her story. Constance Wu is opening up about the criticism she faced after the 2019 renewal of her show Fresh Off the Boatrevealing she contemplated suicide amid the backlash.
“Hi everybody. I haven’t been on social media in almost 3 years. Tbh, I’m a little scared, but I’m dipping my toe back in to say I’m here and while I was gone I wrote a book called Making a Scene,” the Crazy Rich Asians actress, 40, began in a lengthy statement shared via Twitter on Thursday, July 14. All other posts on her account appeared to be deleted.
Wu told her followers that her experience online was “hard to talk about,” explaining why she was so hesitant to return to the platform. “I was afraid of coming back on social media because I almost lost my life from it: 3 years ago, when I made careless tweets about the renewal of my TV show, it ignited outrage and internet shaming that got pretty severe,” she continued . “I felt awful about what I’d said, and when a few DMs from a fellow Asian actress told me I’d become a blight on the Asian American community, I started feeling like I didn’t even deserve to live anymore. That I was a disgrace to AsAms, and they’d be better off without me. Looking back, it’s surreal that a few DMs convinced me to end my own life, but that’s what happened. Luckily, a friend found me and rushed me to the ER.”
The Virginia native came under fire in 2019 for expressing her frustration when ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, which debuted in 2015, was renewed for another season. “So upset right now that I’m literally crying. Ugh. F—-k,” Wu tweeted at the time. “F-king hell.”
When one social media user congratulated her on the career news, calling it “great,” Wu replied, “No it’s not.”
After raising eyebrows with her comments, the actress went on to clarify that her commitment to the series forced her to pull out of a different project that she was “really passionate about” due to the renewal. “So my dismayed social media replies were more about that other project and not about FOTB,” she said at the time. “These words are my truth. I hope you hear them.”
Wu explained at the time that she wanted to dive deeper into her craft after playing an “easy and pleasant” character on the sitcom for so long. The Golden Globe nominee starred alongside Randall Park on the series, which showcased the lives of an Asian-American family in Florida in the ’90s. Fresh Off the Boat ended in 2020 after six seasons.
In her lengthy note to fans, Wu said the backlash — and her own response to it — gave her a new perspective. “It was a scary moment that made me reassess a lot in my life,” the Hustlers star wrote on Thursday. “For the next few years, I put my career aside to focus on my mental health. [Asian-Americans] don’t talk about mental health enough. While we’re quick to celebrate representation wins, there’s a lot of avoidance around the more uncomfortable issues within our community.”
Though the criticism “hurt a lot,” Wu said the situation “made me realize how important it is to reach out and care for people who are going through a hard time.”
She owned up to “[making] mistakes … lots of ’em!” and encouraged those who read her book to “reach out and help people talk about the uncomfortable stuff,” even if it’s challenging. “After a little break from Hollywood and a lot of therapy I feel OK enough to venture back on here (at least for a little bit),” she concluded. “And even though I’m scared, I’ve decided that I owe it to the me-of-3-years-ago to be brave and share my story so that it might help someone with theirs.”
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).