Daniel Dae Kim has shed more light on what transpired when he decided to leave the television series “Hawaii Five-0” in 2017 after playing the role of Chin Ho Kelly for seven years.
The 52-year-old Korean American actor told Vulture in a recent interview that the pay cut he had to take just to be part of the show hasn’t “properly been reported.”
“One thing that has never really properly been reported is the amount of pay cut I took to do ‘Hawaii Five-0’ from ‘Lost’,” Kim was quoted as saying. “It was drastic, and it was never made up.”
When he and co-star Grace Park announced that they would not be reprising their roles for the eighth season of the show, the problem was attributed to pay inequality.
Park and Kim were reportedly offered “10-15% lower” salaries than their white co-stars, Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan, as NextShark reported in 2017.
Kim recalled that due to the early marketing for “Hawaii Five-0,” he was under the impression that the show would be an ensemble and that he and Park would be “featured equally as prominently as anyone else.” He noted that he was eventually “proven to be wrong.”
While Kim didn’t share an exact amount, Kim said the pay difference he received compared to O’Loughlin and Caan was “significant.”
The situation has prompted him to ask to “make us all equal” during negotiations.
“Make us all the ensemble that I thought we always were, and get me back to where I was with Lost. And I didn’t think that was an unreasonable position to take,” he added. “And the thing is, it wasn’t a source of conflict for me. It was very clear and simple. I was very transparent about it with my castmates, with my showrunner, with the studio from the start. It became much more dramatic because of the way that it didn’t come together.”
Kim, however, noted that he was still proud that “we as a show hired a lot of Asian Americans.”
“I think we need to talk about the good with the bad. In terms of representation, we probably hired more Asian American actors than any other show over the same time span,” he pointed out.
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