Fresh Off The Boat actress Constance Wu has come out about being raped in her 20s, relating the incident in a powerful essay Monday (Sept 26).
It happened on a second date with “Ty”, an aspiring novelist who invited her up to his apartment for a “gift” that proved to be “an original 20-page medieval fantasy in which I was the central character”, wrote Wu, 40, in her new book, Making A Scene. “A fantasy he’d written after one date.”
She had agreed to go upstairs to his apartment to receive this gift, ignoring a “twinge of warning in my gut”. It was there that he plied her with the gift-wrapped box, donned a condom and ignored her when she said, more than once, “I’m not ready to have sex with you.”
While it was clear in her head at the time that she had not consented, neither did she think to call it rape, she wrote. This was both for self-preservation and because it did not seem to fit the usual definition of rape.
Because of that, Wu wrote in the book, excerpted by Vanity Fair, she realised in retrospect that she most likely would not have been believed. She also recognised his bafflement, pointing out that it seems to be shared by many men who see themselves as “the good guy”.
Yet telling, perhaps, was Ty’s reaction when Wu definitively told him via email — after months of calls and texts that she ignored — that she did not want to date him.
“I think he must have felt hurt and rejected, but instead of being sad that a girl didn’t like him, he turned to anger,” she wrote. “He made a scene, calling me a heartless b—, an ugly wh— who would never get anywhere in life”.
More than a decade later, she found herself filming her first television show, and she got a “front-row seat to Hollywood’s latent sexism and misogyny”, harassed by a producer during the show’s first couple of seasons. She had filed the rape memory away, and it resurfaced only later.
By then she was contending with unwanted advances from a Fresh Off The Boat producer, harassment she at first endured for the sake of the show’s groundbreaking depiction of Asians.
“It was the only show on network television in over 20 years to star Asian Americans, and I did not want to sully the reputation of the one show we had representing us,” she said in an interview, according to People.
“I kept my mouth shut for a really long time about a lot of sexual harassment and intimidation that I received the first two seasons of the show.”
Again, she said, she was only able to push back when “I was no longer scared of losing my job”. – New York Daily News/Tribune News Service