Author and CNN opinion columnist Jeff Yang has spoken out regarding actor Constance Wu’s claims of having experienced sexual harassment on the set of ABC’s hit series “Fresh Off the Boat.”
In a Twitter thread, Yang, whose son Hudson Yang played Eddie Huang in the American sitcom, expressed regret for not speaking out when Wu approached him with her allegations during the show’s production.
Yang initially distanced himself from Wu’s allegations on Sept. 24, tweeting: “I don’t want to talk about it, it’s not my place to comment and I have nothing to share.” Two days later, he explained that his initial tweet was made to address questions he had received regarding Wu’s new memoir, “Making a Scene.” He also said that she had since reached out to him.
“She reminded me that I *DO* have something to share: That she’d mentioned experiencing harassment to me—without details—while we were both on set,” Yang wrote. “It was Season 5, we were in the makeup trailer, and she was getting her face done for shoot and I was waiting for my son.”
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Yang wrote that when Wu brought her concerns to his attention, he asked why she had not brought her concerns to the executive producers, to which she explained that she was not on speaking terms with one of them because he had harassed her in the past. This aligns with her recent claims that a senior producer, only identified in her memoir by the initial “M,” had been controlling her, telling her what to wear, demanding she send him selfies and touching her inappropriately.
“I didn’t know then whether to take what she’d said seriously; I didn’t know if I was even intended to hear it,” Yang continued. “But I did hear it, and even as a bystander, I could have pursued it; I could have pushed her to speak up about it. And I did not.”
“I am not private to what happened. I don’t even know the full allegations. So I can’t speak to anything beyond this one brief moment. But I’ve always advocated for people to speak their truth, and pushed for them to be heard.”
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Yang ended his initial thread by reflecting on his decision to remain silent, concluding that it was ultimately the wrong decision:
“I ask myself: Did I let her passing statement go out of respect and admiration for the person in question? Or out of concern for ripple effects on others, including my son? Or because felt I had no right to speak up in this situation? Whatever the case, I failed in that instant.”
Wu responded to Yang’s thread with a correction, claiming that she approached him during the production of Season 2 – prior to the #MeToo movement and not during Season 5, as he initially wrote.
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“There is proof of this bc my witness was no longer working on the show by s5, he’d retired,” Wu wrote. “Also, bc I told you pre-Harvey Weinstein, pre-Trump, before I even knew I could go to HR. U didn’t even suggest I go to HR.”
Yang quickly corrected his error in a follow-up tweet, clarifying his mistake was a result of “bad memory” and that Wu had been explicit in expressing that she had been sexually harassed.
Wu thanked him for his correction in a response, saying, “Yes & I have a witness as proof it was in season 2 I told you,” Wu wrote. “Thank u for ur correction & apology. It’s ok, I honestly understand & empathize w/ ur inaction/uncertainty bc pre-#metoo none of us knew what to do in those cases, myself included.”
Wu only recently returned to social media after taking a three-year break due to online harassment she experienced for statements she made about the Season 6 renewal of “Fresh Off the Boat.” Despite the controversy, Wu tweeted that she still stands by the show:
“It is STILL a wonderful, family-friendly show to watch! Even though I suffered harrassment behind the scenes for the first 2 years, I’m still proud of everyone’s work on it and think it’s a great show.”
Featured Image via Commonwealth Club of California (left), CAPE (right)