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After seven seasons, actors Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park have left CBS cop show reboot Hawaii Five-0. The actors, who are both of Korean heritage, departed the series after reportedly being unable to achieve pay equality with their white co-stars.
Last week, Variety reported that Kim and Park, who play Hawaiian cops Chin Ho Kelly and Kono Kalakaua on the show, had sought equal pay with the show’s leads, Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan. However, they were unable to reach an agreement with CBS, with the network’s final offer believed to be 10 to 15 percent lower than their white peers’ salaries.
And in a new message to fans published Wednesday, Kim has all but confirmed the departure from Hawaii Five-0 concerned fair compensation. Though Kim shared that he and CBS “weren’t able to agree to terms on a new contract,” he didn’t specify why he “made the difficult choice not to continue.”
In his post, Kim thanked the cast and crew for making Hawaii Five-0 representative of Hawaii and its communities, and for allowing him to play a “three-dimensional” character as an Asian American actor, a rare opportunity among Hollywood’s typically typecast roles for Asian actors.
“As sad as it feels to say goodbye, what I feel most is gratitude. I am so deeply thankful to our crew, writers and everyone associated with the show—and especially the cast, who have been nothing but supportive through this entire process,” Kim wrote on Facebook. “They and the crew have been my second family for seven years and I wish them nothing but success for season 8—and beyond.”
However, Kim’s message urged fans to look beyond his absence in the show as part of a “bigger picture,” perhaps alluding to his and Park’s refusal to be under compensated through a lens of social justice and equality.
“I’ll end by saying that though transitions can be difficult, I encourage us all to look beyond the disappointment of this moment to the bigger picture. The path to equality is rarely easy,” Kim wrote.
Read his full Facebook post below:
A MESSAGE TO MY FANS ABOUT HAWAII 5-0Sorry for the delay in hearing from me, but like you I’m sure, my July 4th...Posted by Daniel Dae Kim on Wednesday, July 5, 2017
H/T NBC Chicago
Update 9:25am CT, July 7: Hawaii Five-0 showrunner Peter Lenkov posted a statement to Twitter on Thursday alleging that CBS was “extremely generous and proactive” in contract renegotiations for Kim and Park. Despite “getting unprecedented raises,” however, the two actors walked, bringing into question just how much less the duo was being paid than their white co-stars to begin with.
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.