Constance Wu shocked fans last week after she initially expressed apparent displeasure about Fresh Off the Boat's renewal

By Aurelie Corinthios and Breanne L. Heldman
May 14, 2019 12:58 PM

ABC has weighed in on the controversy surrounding Constance Wu‘s reaction to the news of Fresh Off the Boat‘s renewal.

Last week, the actress sparked backlash after she initially expressed apparent displeasure about the family sitcom’s renewal on Twitter. She later explained that her comments stemmed from frustration over having to turn down another project due to the season 6 pickup.

On Tuesday, ABC’s newly installed entertainment president Karey Burke fielded questions about Wu during the network’s pre-upfront press briefing in New York City.

“No, there’s been thought to recasting Constance,” she told reporters. “We love what she does with the show, we love the show. I did actually know that Constance had another opportunity, that had Fresh Off the Boat not gone forward, she would have pursued. But we never really considered not bringing back Fresh Off the Boat. The show’s just too strong for us.”

“So I’m going to choose to believe Constance’s most recent communication about the show that she is happy to return,” Burke added. “The cast and crew is happy to have her back and we’re thrilled to keep her on the show.”

25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 27 Jan 2019
Credit: Broadimage/REX/Shutterstock

Wu, 37, got her first big break in Hollywood in 2015 when she landed the role of protective mom Jessica Huang in Fresh Off the Boat — the first network sitcom about an Asian-American family to air in 20 years.

On Friday, the actress shocked fans when she said she was “so upset” that the show had been renewed, writing, among other tweets, “I’m literally crying. Ugh. F—.”

Hours later, she backtracked on her comments, explaining that her tweets came “on the heels of a rough day” and that she was “grateful” for the renewal and “proud” to be a part of the show. She also urged her followers to “stop assuming” that they knew what her comments were in reference to.

FRESH OFF THE BOAT - Citizen Jessica - As Louis and the Cattlemans Ranch staff prepare to serve as a polling place for the 1996 election, Jessica suspects that one of the restaurant employees may be an undocumented immigrant. So when Jessica reports her findings to the I.N.S., she learns that her immigration status is also questionable. Meanwhile, Eddie and his friends have a heated debate over who killed rapper Tupac Shakur, on ABCs Fresh Off the Boat, airing on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1 (9:009:30 p.m. EDT). (Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images) FORREST WHEELER, HUDSON YANG, CONSTANCE WU, IAN CHEN
Credit: Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty

On Saturday, Wu reiterated her position in a lengthy statement on Twitter.

“I love FOTB,” she began. “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. So my dismayed social media replies were more about that other project and not about FOTB.

“But I understand how that could feel interconnected and could get muddled,” she continued. “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. I get to work with a kind and pleasant cast/crew. Which makes it all quite enjoyable — so obviously I don’t dislike doing a show that is fun and easy and pleasant.”

Wu, who also starred in Crazy Rich Asians, went on to explain that she was looking for “artistic challenge over comfort and ease.”

“I was disappointed in not being able to do that other project — because that other project would have challenged me as an artist — that other project would have been really hard and not easy or pleasant at all. 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,” she said.

Constance Wu apology letter
Credit: Constance Wu/Twitter

She also admitted that she understood her Friday comments were “insensitive.”

“I do regret that and it wasn’t nice and I am sorry for that. I know it’s a huge privilege that I even HAVE options — options that FOTB has afforded me. But if one does have privilege, they ought to use that privilege as best they can. For me — that means pushing myself artistically,” she explained.

“People ‘assumed’ that that meant I don’t love and enjoy FOTB. But I do love and enjoy it,” she added. “I hope you believe me.”