Update at 8:13 pm PST: CBS has just released a statement on Kim and Park’s departures, saying:
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. 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.
According to Variety, CBS executives were “troubled” by the implication that Kim and Park’s departures were due to racial discrimination, as the media has reported since the story broke. CBS maintains that race did not play a role in business negotiations between the network and Kim and Park.
Well, it’s official. Daniel Dae Kim (“Lost”) is leaving CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0,” and it’s due to pay inequality. Kim and his costar, Grace Park (“Battlestar Galactica”), made major headlines last week after CBS announced their departure from the hit action reboot. Both actors, who had been series regulars on the reboot since their debut in 2010, were in the midst of contract negotiations for the show, and were reportedly offered 10-15% less than their white, male costars Alex O’Loughlin (“Moonlight”) and Scott Caan (“Ocean’s Eleven”). While Kim and Park lobbied for equal pay, the issue was never resolved and both actors parted ways from the show. Learn more via our last post on the exit here.
In a Facebook post, Kim thanked CBS, the cast, crew and fans of “Hawaii Five-0.” He also addressed the importance of his character, Chin Ho Kelly, saying:
I will always be grateful for [the network and producers’] faith in me to bring Chin Ho Kelly to life. 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. I will miss him sincerely.
What made him even more special is that he was a representative of a place my family and I so dearly love. It has been nothing short of an honor to be able to showcase the beauty and people of Hawaii every week, and I couldn’t be prouder to call these islands home. To my local community, mahalo nui loa.
Chin Ho Kelly was played by Kam Fong on the original “Hawaii Five-0,” which aired from 1968-1980. The show was notable for its more diverse cast, as many Hawaiians and several Asian Americans were cast in “Hawaii Five-0,” by 1960s standards.
Kim obliquely references his and Park’s fight for equal pay on “Hawaii Five-0,” which led to his exit. He notes that “the path to equality is rarely easy,” which rings true for Asian American actors still fighting for equal pay and equal representation on screen. But still, Kim seems to be looking onwards and upwards, as his production company 3AD rolls out a new show this fall:
…I hope you can be excited for the future. I am. 5-0 continues on after one of its strongest seasons. I’ve got new acting projects on the horizon, and as a producer, my company, 3AD, has its first show, THE GOOD DOCTOR, set to air this fall on ABC. I hope you’ll tune in. There’s a lot to look forward to and I’ll be sure to share it with you.
“Hawaii Five-0” returns for its eighth season Sept. 29 on CBS. Kim’s “The Good Doctor” is set to air Mondays at 10 p.m. this fall on ABC.