Hawaii Five-0 cast Daniel Dae Kim has confirmed that he is not returning to the show for Season 8. The picture that's emerging isn't pretty.
Although both Asian-American actors were main characters alongside white co-stars Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan, they were being paid significantly less. The six "Friends" starred in each of the show's 236 episodes and earned the same salary in their last season, whereas Kim and Park earned less in their seventh season than Caan and O'Loughlin.
Daniel and Grace have been important and valued members of "Hawaii Five-0" for seven seasons.
O'Loughlin and Caan have one more season to go on their contract with the show.
It's hard to avoid concluding that this is a direct reflection of Hollywood's continuing legacy as a system where white actors and male actors are seen as more valuable than nonwhite and female ones, simply by accident of melanin and genitalia. CBS executives were said to be troubled by the suggestion from media coverage of Kim and Park's departures that race played a role in a business negotiation.
Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park
And why wouldn't they?
They, and faint nostalgia, were the primary reasons why people were interested in watching the show. "So much so, the actors were getting unprecedented raises, but in the end they chose to move on". They were relegated to second-banana status on call sheets and in industry press releases. However, sources close to Kim said the differential was more significant. Somehow, Caan was able to work out a deal giving him the flexibility to spend time with his partner and child - and Park was not.
"I am disturbed to hear reports that "Hawaii Five-O' stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park were not offered equal pay to their colleagues on the TV series", she said".
He's part of a wave of Asian American actors who've turned toward developing their own projects to create opportunities, including Ken Jeong, who fictionalized his own life story into ABC's "Dr. Ken;" Steve Yuen, of AMC's "The Walking Dead", who's developing a feature film on North Korea's political prison camps; and two actors who exited "Hawaii Five-0" ahead of Kim and Park - Brian Yang, producer of "Linsanity" and the forthcoming "Snakehead", and Masi Oka, whose first project, the manga-inspired "Death Note", is scheduled to premiere on Netflix later this summer.
Kim, who played Chin Ho Kelly on the crime drama reboot, said the "path to equality is rarely easy", without elaborating.
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