Daniel Dae Kim is truly a class act.
Kim has been relatively quiet in the aftermath of his extremely publicized exit alongside Grace Park from “Hawaii Five-0,” but he finally opened up to Entertainment Weekly on Sunday. The Korean-American actor was promoting his new show, “The Good Doctor,” when he made a profound statement addressing his difficult choice to leave the role after seven seasons.
“That was a really important part of my life for seven years, and I’m really grateful to CBS and everyone involved with the show for giving me the opportunity,” Kim told EW.
“That said, it’s possible to be grateful for the opportunity and respectful of the colleagues and the people that I work with and still maintain a steadfast sense of your self-worth,” he continued.
News broke of Kim and Park’s exit in July, after reports of pay disputes that resulted in the actors being offered 10 to 15 percent less than their white co-stars, Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan. Fans were in an uproar over the outcome, quickly noting that all four actors started on the show together and that the Asian actors were essential to the storylines.
Kim, who has continued to express his gratefulness for his role as Chin Ho Kelly, wrote an initial statement on the struggles of Asian Americans in Hollywood after the story broke.
“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 wrote. “The path to equality is rarely easy.”
“Hawaii Five-0” show runner Peter Lenkov tweeted a statement claiming CBS had been “extremely generous” with Kim and Park, offering them “unprecedented raises.” But he did not address whether those raises were equal to the salaries of O’Loughlin and Caan.
Issues related to pay equity and representation in Hollywood have been similarly criticized. After the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in 2016, AJ+ referenced a University of Southern California study that revealed only 1 percent of lead roles in films go to Asians. The AJ+ graphic was shared nearly 20,000 times, and even tweeted out by actress Arden Cho, who played Kira Yukimura on “Teen Wolf.”
Clarification: Language in this story has been amended to clarify that Kim is Korean-American.