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Online harassment is a serious issue with potentially life-threatening implications. Just ask Constance Wu.
The Crazy Rich Asians star took to Twitter for the first time in almost three years to share a heartbreaking story from her personal mental health journey. After she fired off a series of “careless tweets” in 2019 bemoaning the renewal of her ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, the actress was cyberbullied so aggressively that she attempted death by suicide.
“I was afraid of coming back on social media because I almost lost my life from it,” Wu wrote. “[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.”
“I felt awful about what I’d said,” she continued, “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. Looking back, it’s surreal that a few DMs convinced me to end my own life, but that’s what happened.”
— Constance Wu (@ConstanceWu) July 14, 2022
Luckily, a friend found Wu and rushed her to the ER, but the incident was a final straw for Wu, who took time off from acting, and social media, to focus on her mental health. In that time, she also wrote a book called Making A Scene, which delves deeper into her own journey of healing and self-acceptance.
It’s not a stretch to see why these horrible messages were so hurtful to Wu, who became the de facto face of Asian American representation in Hollywood after the smash-hit success of Crazy Rich Asians in 2018. And that’s not to mention the implicit pressure placed on marginalized celebrities like Wu to be “model minorities” and make zero missteps. Needless to say, nobody deserves the hateful firestorm she received for simply expressing frustration about her career trajectory.
It took “a little break from Hollywood and a lot of therapy” to feel comfortable opening up about her struggles, Wu admitted, but she hopes sharing her story via Twitter and her book will help others — especially fellow Asian Americans.
“AsAms don’t talk about mental health enough,” she said. “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.”