Daniel Dae Kim is officially leaving “Hawaii Five-0” following failed contract negotiations with CBS. The network refused to pay Kim and co-star Grace Park salaries equal to those of their white co-stars, Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan. CBS’s final offer was roughly 10-15% lower than what O’Loughlin and Caan (who are white) were earning. They also make a percentage of the back-end, Variety reported.
Kim confirmed the news in a Facebook post to his fans early this morning.
“By now many of you have heard the news, and I’m sad to say it is true,” he wrote. “I will not be returning to ‘Hawaii Five-0’ when production starts next week. 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.”
Both Kim and Park’s characters, Chin Ho Kelly and Kono Kalakaua, will not be returning for season 8. Originally born in Busan, South Korea, Kim’s parents moved with him to the U.S. at the age of two. He is best known as Jin-Soo Kwon from J.J. Abrams’ “Lost.” Park was born in Los Angeles to Korean parents; she is best known for her role as Boomer/Athena on the cult sci-fi series “Battlestar Galactica.”
“I’ll end by saying that though transitions can be difficult, I encourage us all to look beyond the disappointment of this moment to the bigger picture,” wrote Kim. “The path to equality is rarely easy. But I hope you can be excited for the future.”
Pay inequality continues to be an issue in Hollywood, where the bottom line rules all. Emmy Rossum won a recent battle over her “Shameless” salary with Showtime, but those victories are few and far between. Kim and Park will certainly go on to other projects, but both actors show enormous backbone by walking away from a lucrative television series.