‘Fresh Off The Boat’ Inspiration Celebrity Chef Eddie Huang Says He Was Sexually Assaulted At 14

Eddie Huang speaks on stage during the "Fresh Off the Boat" panel at the Disney/ABC Television Group

**The information in this article might be disturbing for some**

Fresh Off The Boat inspiration and celebrity chef Eddie Huang is bravely speaking out about his sexual assault at the age of 14. Huang says it was the stories of sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood that has caused him to open up. But Huang’s traumatic story doesn’t take place in Hollywood; it took place on a Baptist church ski trip, and he was the victim of a child predator. Chef Eddie Huang has now put pen to paper to tell his own story, hoping to exorcise his own demons from his own experience with child sexual assault. Huang explained that the man who preyed on him was a trusted chaperone on the trip.

Before people started speaking out in the #metoo movement, sharing painful experiences of sexual harassment and sexual assault, many believed that sexual assault only happened to someone else, making victims like Huang feel alone. But it was a year ago when the public got a peek into child sex predators in Hollywood with the Mark Salling case.

Mark Salling was a rising star coming from the show Glee, but now he is a convicted sex offender after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography featuring children under the age of 10 engaged in sex acts.

When Salling was first arrested fans were shocked, but the Salling story is only being told from the predator’s perspective, while chef Eddie Huang is telling his story from the point of view of the victim.

Eddie Huang, perhaps best known for the character who bears his name on the ABC sitcom Fresh Off The Boat, has written an essay he titled “Why I denied my sexual assault for 20 years.” Huang says that he was on a Baptist church ski trip sharing a room with another child when one of the chaperones asked if he could use their shower. Chef Huang explains that he and his 14-year-old friend continued watching the basketball game while the adult male chaperone showered. Huang explains that recalling the details still sparks a visceral reaction.

“I get knots in my stomach and blood rushes to my brain when I begin to write this. I think it’s anger, but I’m not sure. More than anything, I just feel powerless to the memory. Him taking his time with the shower, steaming up the room, then coming out with his d**k hanging out.”

Eddie Huang said that the man made no efforts to cover himself with a towel or anything else as he came to sit on Huang’s bed, fully erect. Chef Huang said that as his discomfort increased, he was exchanging glances with his roommate who also seemed to be in a panic.

“I looked toward my roommate who seemed just as flustered, but we weren’t sure what was happening. Was this okay? Could I say something? I was a guest of the church, but what the f**k?”

Eddie Huang explains that he was trying to understand what was happening as the chaperone in an aroused state started reading the Bible while still on Huang’s bed. A fight or flight feeling was welling up in his body, mixed with anxiety that Huang had lost control of the situation.

“My chest started to tighten and I couldn’t breathe, fearful for what would happen next,” he adds. “The panic turned to outrage and ultimately, humiliation.”

Huang explains that in his head he was screaming for an adult to come and rescue the boys from the chaperone in the hotel room, but nobody came. After another 15 minutes, the man suddenly got up and left the room Huang shared with his roommate.

Chef Eddie Huang said that before he wrote this essay, he had told only a few people about this traumatizing event, but hearing other stories in the past weeks made him feel that it was time for him to unburden himself. Huang wants people to know that even though he pushed the memory of the experience deep down, he has not let the trauma define him.

“A Band-Aid had been ripped off and a memory triggered that I had deliberately locked away. All of the emotions came rushing back,” Huang says. “I’m not just a kid some pedophile read Psalms to. And if someone sexually assaulted you, it isn’t who you are either. We have a f**king choice. We can’t always control what people do to us, but we do have the power to define it. When I look back, nothing was actually taken. I was hijacked, but I fought my way back and arrived as the man I’m supposed to be.”

Are you surprised that chef Eddie Huang from Fresh Off The Boat was willing to be so candid about such a personal experience? Do you think that stories from men like Huang will change how people view sexual assault?

[Featured Image by Richard Shotwell/AP Images]