Justice

Hawaii Five-0 Star Gets Real About Why He Left

July 5th 2017

By:
Almie Rose

It was reported on June 30 that two leads on the TV show "Hawaii Five-0," Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park, were leaving over a pay dispute.

Daniel Dae Kim

But as Kim revealed in a Facebook post early Wednesday morning, his reason for leaving the show went beyond a paycheck—and cut into something far deeper.

According to Variety, "Park and Kim had been seeking pay equality with stars Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan" and CBS couldn't deliver.

As the article continues, "CBS’s final offer to Kim and Park was believed to have been 10-15% lower than what O’Loughlin and Caan make in salary." Additionally, "O’Laughlin and Caan each have deals that also provide them percentage points on the show’s back end."

Rather than accept their subpar offer, Kim and Park decided to leave the show, which has seen a ratings boost as of late. TV By The Numbers even reports "CBS led the night in the Friday ratings this week, with the season finale of 'Hawaii Five-O' scoring higher than any other show on the major networks." 

Kim's show was performing well, and he could have had continued success, but he was willing to walk—and did.

Park hadn't issued any statement by Wednesday afternoon, but Kim offered fans this fond and touching explanation:

"By now many of you have heard the news, and I’m sad to say it is true. I will not be returning to Hawaii Five-0 when production starts next week," Kim's Facebook post begins.

Daniel Dae Kim

"Though I 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," he writes. He adds he is grateful to the cast, crew, and writers for the show.

Then he hits on a greater issue:

"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," he writes, adding, "What made him even more special is that he was a representative of a place my family and I so dearly love."

He closes with, "I encourage us all to look beyond the disappointment of this moment to the bigger picture. The path to equality is rarely easy. But I hope you can be excited for the future."

Fans expressed their disappointment in seeing him leave, with some noting he and Park were the main reasons why they watched the show.

There are not many American television shows with Asian leads.

And when Asian actors are cast, as The Guardian reported, they're usually given stereotypical supporting parts: "Asian men said they were often relegated to roles as tech nerds, assistants, doctors – sometimes highly emasculated, desexualized characters. Asian women, meanwhile, regularly go up for parts as masseuses and sex workers or characters described as submissive, fragile or quiet." 

Thai American actor Pun Bandhu told The Guardian, "We’re the information givers. We’re the geeks. We’re the prostitutes. We’re so sick and tired of seeing ourselves in those roles."

Which makes it all the more disappointing that CBS couldn't reach an agreement with Kim and Park.

You can read Kim's full Facebook post below.