Korean-American star Daniel Dae Kim spoke up regarding his recent departure from the long-running CBS drama Hawaii Five-0, reportedly due to pay inequality.
Entertainment trade magazine Variety reported that Kim and his co-star Grace Park, a Canadian-American actress of Korean heritage, were exiting the police action show after seven years, having failed to reach an agreement with CBS on pay equality with their white co-stars Alex OLoughlin and Scott Caan.
“Though I have made myself available to come back, CBS and I weren’t able to agree to terms on a new contract, so I made the difficult choice not to continue,” Kim wrote on his Facebook page.
“The path to equality is rarely easy. But I hope you can be excited for the future. I am. As an Asian-American actor, I know first-hand how difficult it is to find opportunities at all, let alone play a well-developed, three-dimensional character like Chin Ho,” he wrote, referring to his character Chin Ho Kelly.
The final offers from CBS to Kim and Park were 10% to 15% less than those made to their two white co-stars, Variety reported.
CBS Television Studios issued a statement saying that “Daniel and Grace have been important and valued members of Hawaii Five-0 for seven seasons. We did not want to lose them and tried very hard to keep them with offers for large and significant salary increases,” the studio said.
“While we could not reach an agreement, we part ways with tremendous respect for their talents on screen, as well as their roles as ambassadors for the show off screen, and with hopes to work with them again in the near future.”
Kim and Park have been series regulars as Chin Ho Kelly and Kono Kalakaua, respectively, since the show – a reboot of the original Hawaii Five-O series that ran from 1968 to 1980 – debut in 2010. Kim previously starred in Lost alongside Korean actress Kim Yun-jin.
Their departures come ahead of the eighth season, set to air in the US in September. – The Korea Herald/Asia News Network/Rumy Doo