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Constance Wu is sharing how she was deeply affected by the social media backlash she received three years ago for her comments about the renewal of her show “Fresh Off the Boat.” On Thursday, Wu, 40, returned to Twitter for the first time in almost three years to discuss her upcoming memoir “Making a Scene” and how its pages reveal “uncomfortable” aspects of her life.
In her Twitter statement, the actor wrote, “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.”
The backlash was so extreme that Wu said she attempted to end her life.
“Looking back, it’s surreal that a few DMs convinced me to end my own life, but that’s what happened,” she said. “Luckily, a friend found me and rushed me to the ER.”
Following the release of the groundbreaking 2018 film “Crazy Rich Asians,” Wu, who had been starring on “Fresh Off the Boat” for a few years, quickly became a household name.
Coming off the success of the movie adaption, Wu was then cast alongside Jennifer Lopez in the crime movie “Hustlers.”
In May 2019, before the film was released, ABC announced that “Fresh Off the Boat” was renewed for a sixth season.
After hearing the news, Wu tweeted, “So upset right now that I’m literally crying. Ugh. F—.”
When a Twitter user congratulated Wu and said it was “great news,” she responded, “No it’s not.”
After deleting her tweets, Wu uploaded a statement to Twitter and clarified that she loved “Fresh Off the Boat.”
“I was temporarily upset yesterday not bc I hate the show but bc its renewal meant I had to give up another project that I was really passionate about,” she wrote at the time. “So my dismayed social media replies were more about that other project and not about FOTB.”
Co-star Randall Park had also expressed his excitement to pursue other projects at the time. In a Variety podcast, he said that many of the people on the show's cast and crew had thought their fifth season would be the last.
“I was prepared for it to not get picked up, and I was excited by these other things I could do,” he said on “The Big Ticket with Marc Malkin,” adding that he was still excited the show had been picked up again and to have regular work.
Still, Wu was slammed online for her initial tweet.
In her Twitter statement on Thursday, she called the situation “a scary moment that made me reassess a lot in my life.”
Wu said she decided to take a step back from acting because of it. She recently returned to work and currently appears in Amazon’s “The Terminal List.”
“AsAms don’t talk about mental health enough,” she wrote in her statement. “While we’re quick to celebrate representation wins, there’s a lot of avoidance around the more uncomfortable issues within our community. Even my tweets became a subject so touchy that most of my AsAm colleagues decided that was the time to avoid me or ice me out. I’ll admit it hurt a lot, but it also made me realize how important it is to reach out and care for people who are going through a hard time.”
Her memoir, which will be published by Scribner on Oct. 4, was written to “reach out and help people talk about the uncomfortable stuff in order to understand it, reckon with it, and open pathways to healing,” she said.
“We need to let all of ourselves be seen, including the parts we’re scared of or ashamed of–parts that, however imperfect, require care and attention,” she wrote. “And we need to stop beating each other (and ourselves) up when we do.”
Wu ended her emotional post by saying that she plans to stay on social media for now.
She concluded, “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). 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.”
In a follow-up tweet, she also provided a link and numbers for suicide prevention resources.