WARNING – This article mentions suicide. Reader discretion is advised.
After a three-year hiatus from social media, actor Constance Wu returned to Twitter Thursday to open up about her break from acting and how cruelty she faced online drove her to attempt suicide.
The Crazy Rich Asians star addressed the backlash she received in 2019 when she tweeted about the renewal of Fresh Off the Boat (FOTB) – a series she was starring in at the time.
At the time, Wu tweeted she was “so upset right now I’m literally crying. Ugh. F–k,” after learning that the series was being renewed for a sixth season.
She sent a followup tweet, saying, “F–king hell.”
The tweets have since been deleted.
And while she defended the tweets at the time, saying she was disappointed in the renewal because it meant she had to sideline another important project, Thursday’s missive said the backlash was far more damaging than she ever let on.
“I was afraid of coming back on social media because I almost lost my life from it: Three years ago, when I made careless tweets about the renewal of my TV show, it ignited outrage and internet shaming that got pretty severe,” Wu wrote.
“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 (Asian Americans), and they’d be better off without me.”
Wu said a friend found her during a suicide attempt and rushed her to the ER.
“AsAms don’t talk about mental health enough,” Wu continued. “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.
“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),” the actor concluded, followed by information for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
In 2019, Wu told the Los Angeles Times she responded to her show’s renewal with anger because she “had this moment of heat where I got upset because I had to give up a job I had been looking forward to and had been chasing for a while.”
She also said she was surprised when the tweets made headlines.
“I’m not beating myself up for it because I know me,” she said. “But I don’t think I realized that people were paying so much attention to my Twitter.”
She also released a statement at the time, attempting to explain in depth why she was upset.
Wu released a more in-depth explanation for her outburst in a statement.
“I love FOTB. I was temporarily upset yesterday not because I hate the show but (because) its renewal meant I had to give up another project that I was really passionate about. So my dismayed social media replies were more about that other project and not about FOTB,” the actress wrote in a statement posted to Twitter, which has since been deleted.
“But I understand how that could feel interconnected and could get muddled. So here is me unmuddling it with my truth: FOTB is a great show that I’m proud of and that I enjoy. I’ve gotten to fully explore my character and I know her like the back of my hand. So playing Jessica is fun and easy and pleasant.”
She went on to say that she “obviously” doesn’t dislike “doing a show that is fun and easy and pleasant. But in general, I’ve always sought artistic challenge over comfort and ease.”
Wu clarified that she was upset she wouldn’t be able to work on another project “because the other project would have challenged me as an artist.”
“Sometimes even my closest friends are baffled at how I could value artistic challenge/difficulties over success/happiness. But I do. I know it’s weird.”
Wu said her words were “insensitive to those who are struggling, especially insensitive considering the fact I used to be in that struggle, too. I do regret that and it wasn’t nice and I am sorry for that.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
For a directory of support services in your area, visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.