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Why Was Constance Wu So Upset About Fresh Off the Boat? And How Did Gemma Chan Get Involved?

On Friday, Fresh Off the Boat fans rejoiced at the news that ABC had renewed the sitcom for a sixth season. That is, fans except, it seemed, actress Constance Wu, the show’s breakout star, who started posting a series of frustrated, dejected tweets in the wake of the announcement. “So upset right now that I’m literally crying. Ugh. Fuck,” she wrote. “Fucking hell,” another read simply. She commented, “Dislike,” on an Instagram post about the announcement; in response to a fan who congratulated her on the “great news,” she replied, “No it’s not.”

So one wouldn’t be making much of an intuitive leap to gather that Constance Wu wasn’t too pleased that Fresh Off the Boat had been renewed—which is what many, many headlines did on Friday. Still, not long after, Wu took to Twitter again, this time attempting to dispel the rumors now circulating the Internet that she wanted off Fresh Off the Boat. “That was not a rampage, it was just how I normally talk. I say fuck a lot. I love the word,” Wu wrote. “Y’all are making a lot of assumptions about what I was saying. And no, it’s not what it’s about. No it’s not…what this is all about. Stop assuming.”

Wu’s Crazy Rich Asians costar Gemma Chan seemed to further ignite the controversy when she liked a (since-deleted) tweet by HuffPost contributor Yashar Ali, in which he made the seemingly unsubstantiated claim that “Constance Wu’s conduct today comes as no surprise to anyone who has worked with her in recent years. She has a reputation for being rude, petty, mean-spirited, and ungrateful.” This prompted its own outgrowth of headlines speculating on theoretical drama between the two rom-com stars; Chan responded on Twitter claiming her “like” was an accident. “Anyone looking for drama or beef, sorry to disappoint,” she wrote. So that’s one rumor out of the way.

As a sidebar, Ali later erased the post, explaining that “They didn’t offer enough context to explain what I’ve learned over the past three years. As a result people (for good reason) felt that they came off as misogynistic and they were absolutely right,” and “some things are better left for a story where sourcing and context can be explained and not Twitter.”

Eventually, after this series of sort-of-cryptic social media interactions and a lot of rumors, Wu issued a longer statement clarifying her reaction to the news of Fresh Off the Boat’s renewal. The forthcoming season, she wrote, required her to give up another project “that I was really passionate about.” Second rumor vanquished, sort of.

“Obviously I don’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,” she wrote, and the project she had to forgo would have been more challenging, less comfortable, not at all easy. “People ‘assumed’ that meant I don’t love and enjoy FOTB. But I do love and enjoy it. I hope you’ll believe me.” She concluded the lengthy statement somewhat questionably echoing the language of the Me Too movement, writing that “it’s meaningful when you make the choice to believe women.”