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'Hawaii Five-0's Asian Stars Exit Over Pay Less Than White Co-Stars

Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park (photosGrace Park photos) have left 'Hawaii Five-0' after not being offered equal pay compared to their white co-stars.

Kim and Park were seeking equal pay with fellow original castmembers Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan, who also receive a portion of the series' back-end profit.

Kim said his decision was based on the inability to reach an agreement on a new contract and be compensated the same as the other leads.

"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 said. "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."

"The truth is this: Both actors chose not to extend their contracts," creator Peter Lenkov tried to defend the negotiations. "CBS was extremely generous and proactive in their renegotiation talks. So much so, the actors were getting unprecedented raises, but in the end they chose to move on."

"No one wanted to see them go - they are irreplaceable," he said. "After being away from her family for seven years, I understood Grace's decision to leave. There was an opportunity for her to return for a handful of episodes, but for several reasons that didn't work out. In the end, everyone tried their best to keep the ohana intact."

However, that isn't quelling any criticism against CBS for discrimination.

"The studio apparently didn't think the two Asian leads were quite as worthwhile as the two white dudes," says Asian issues commentator Phil Yu. "This behind-the-scenes drama over pay equality demonstrates that the studio values, quite literally, the show's white actors over its Asian ones."

"They’re not even pretending anymore, in the most basic way, that this show doesn't put its white stars at the center."

July 7, 2017 |

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