Exactly a week ago today, ahead of the upfronts, the networks released the list of shows that had been renewed and cancelled. As you know, Fresh Off The Boat was renewed, which resulted in a “f-cking hell” from Constance Wu on Twitter – and not in a good way. She was crying about losing out on another opportunity and then made it worse with her “believe women” iNotes statement. Then her peers in the industry mocked her on Twitter, borrowing her “f-cking hell” to tweet about their own shows, and Heidi Gardner also took a shot at her on SNL during Weekend Update. Also, at the ABC Upfront earlier this week, Jimmy Kimmel put her on blast, making two jokes about her:
"Only on ABC is getting your show picked up the worst thing that can happen to you," Kimmel joked, earning laughs. "Sorry, Constance. At least you got 9,300 (Twitter) likes."
"(NBC's) 'This is Us' was renewed for three years," he added later. "Or as Constance Wu would call it, a death sentence."
The pile-on continues. Page Six reported the other day that Constance is a “bigger diva than Jennifer Lopez”. The takeaway is that Constance is supposedly the most hated person on the FOTB set and that she allegedly talks down to the crew and wasn’t pleasant on the set of Crazy Rich Asians either.
So this is the Pandora’s Box of sh-t that she opened up with her “f-cking hell”. Literally. Is that a good use of “literally”? Whatever, the point is, as Yashar Ali tweeted – and then deleted – a few days ago, there was underground word that Constance had a reputation. She was protected, however, because up to that point her public image was so positive. Now that she’s chosen to show a different side of herself… well… fair game, I guess? I mean, yeah. Like this didn’t come out of nowhere – it came FROM HER. She was a brat on social media and people were then like, this can’t be the first time she’s been a brat, right? And so her tweet has becoming the concrete pillar holding up the rest of the gossip. As Duana pointed out on Show Your Work this week, given that Constance is relatively new to this, in comparison to other “divas” in the business, she hadn’t laid enough track to balance out the “Constance Wu is a bitch” stories. Like, for example, Reese Witherspoon, who pulled the “do you know my name” card to a cop who pulled over her husband for driving while drunk. There was a mugshot!
What’s worse? A bad tweet or a mugshot? Someone go and write this essay. I would appreciate a link back to my idea for credit, thank you.
Here’s what I asked on Monday when I first wrote about Constance’s situation anticipating that this would happen: is she cancelled? My answer now is the same as it was then: no. In the same way Christian Bale clearly wasn’t cancelled. And Vin Diesel, never cancelled. Stars being dicks on set is par for the course in Hollywood. Constance Wu didn’t invent the practice. Because that’s what Hollywood does: it creates assholes, it’s an environment built to spoil, it’s a hierarchical system of sycophants that conditions those at the top of the call-sheet to become unfamiliar with the word “no”. This is one way that fame doesn’t discriminate – it will f-ck you up, no matter who you are, where you came from.
Christian Bale was given the opportunity to apologise and, frankly, he wouldn’t have been cancelled even if he didn’t apologise. It’s hard to remember now but earlier in his career, Ryan Reynolds was also known to be difficult on set, one source told me he was a “prick” to work with until he met Hugh Jackman, until Hugh set that example. Part of that is maturity, part of that is mentorship, and part of that is just getting a chance to change. You know who never changes? Justin Timberlake. He was a sh-t when he was with *NSYNC and he’s been a sh-t ever since he’s gone solo. And they keep give him awards and doctorates.
But before you get it twisted, this is not a defence of Constance Wu. Constance Wu came for people’s money. Her bitching made it seem like she would have preferred that FOTB be cancelled, which would have resulted in opportunity for her but in wage and job loss for others. The callout here is understandable and justified. By all means, acknowledge it, talk about it, let it follow her, and then let it humble her – will it humble her? Shouldn’t we be getting an answer to that question before cancelling her? And if it doesn’t humble her, at what point does it become an asset?
There was an actress almost 30 years ago on a popular television show who was also a big f-cking headache. Her name: Shannen Doherty. They’ve since made Lifetime movies about the drama that Shannen caused – and her drama was THE most compelling plot point. In the years that have passed since 90210 was the sh-t of its time, Shannen Doherty’s mess has become pop culture legend. We almost celebrate it! And this was someone who made many, many people’s work experiences very, very difficult. In the same vein, if we’re talking about “divas”, which is what they’re calling Constance Wu, aren’t Mariah Carey’s notoriously diva ways part of why so many of us love her so much? I mean, there’s either humbling or there’s leaning way out in the opposite direction.