It was reported last week that Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park wouldn’t be returning for season 8 of Hawaii Five-0 due to pay disputes, and now we have more details on the actors’ decision to leave the series. Lost actor Kim, who plays Chin Ho Kelly, and Park, who plays Kona “Kono” Kalakaua, have been series regulars for seven seasons, beginning with the pilot episode in 2010.
Variety had reported that Kim and Park had disagreements with CBS over their salaries. Apparently, both actors were unsatisfied that they were being paid 10 to 15 percent less than the show’s stars, Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan.
Now Variety reports that the difference in salaries between Kim and the two stars is even larger. As for Park, Variety claims she wanted a raise while also trying to work out a deal for less than half a season’s worth of episodes. Executive producer Peter Lenkov said on Twitter that “there was an opportunity for her to return for a handful of episodes, but for several reasons that didn’t work out.” Lenkov also suggested that living in Hawaii away from her family for years may have contributed to her decision to leave.
CBS has already received criticism for news surrounding the departure of the two actors, who both happen to be Asian Americans. According to Variety, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) said she was “disturbed” by the reports that the actors were not receiving equal pay.
Though Park has remained silent on the issue, Kim has taken to social media to address his departure from the series. Kim posted a lengthy farewell message to his fans on his Facebook page on Wednesday. Take a look at a portion of it below:
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. What made him even more special is that he was a representative of a place my family and I so dearly love. It has been nothing short of an honor to be able to showcase the beauty and people of Hawaii every week, and I couldn’t be prouder to call these islands home.
Kim also stated that though he was available to return, he and CBS were unable to agree to terms on a new contract. It’s expected that the absence of Kim and Park’s characters will be explained in the season 8 premiere.