The National Hispanic Media Coalition is condemning CBS for failing to pay Asian lead stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park as much as their white co-stars, Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan.
Kim and Park, who have both been with CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” for seven seasons since 2010, were offered 10-15% less than the salary of actors O’Loughlin and Caan, who both have deals that also give them percentage points on the show’s back end, according to Variety.
“In 2017, the fact that we’re still fighting for equal and fair representation on a major television network is extremely problematic and changes must come about,” NHMC President and CEO Alex Nogales said in a statement, citing a recent LA Times article criticizing the network, HuffPost reported.
Nogales added that the loss of Kim and Park would have some serious consequences for the series.
“Given the networks’ record in terms of diversity, the loss at ‘Hawaii Five-0’ is incredibly ill-advised,” Nogales told LA Weekly. “I think it’s reckless. It’s going to cost them with the Asian community and with other communities of color.”
He added: “When you have four people and they’re all talked about in the same breath, and you’ve not compensated them as the rest, it’s bigoted.”
Kim posted a message to his fans on Facebook on July 5:
“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,” Kim wrote. “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.”
“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,” Kim added. “The path to equality is rarely easy. But I hope you can be excited for the future. I am.”
CBS also released a follow-up statement on the same day:
“Daniel and Grace have been important and valued members of Hawaii Five-0 for seven seasons. We did not want to lose them and tried very hard to keep them with offers for large and significant salary increases. While we could not reach an agreement, we part ways with tremendous respect for their talents on screen, as well as their roles as ambassadors for the show off screen, and with hopes to work with them again in the near future.”
Kim and Park’s absence from “Hawaii Five-0” will be referenced when the series returns for its eighth season on September 29.
Images via Instagram/Daniel Dae Kim