Daniel Dae Kim Breaks Silence After ‘Hawaii Five-0’ Pay Dispute: ‘The Path to Equality Is Rarely Easy’

Daniel Dae Kim Hawaii Five-0 exit
Rob Latour/Variety/REX Shutterstock

Daniel Dae Kim has broken his silence, following news that he won’t be returning to “Hawaii Five-0” next season amid salary drama.

“By now many of you have heard the news, and I’m sad to say it is true. 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,” the actor posted Wednesday morning on Facebook.

Last week, Variety reported that Kim and his co-star Grace Park would be departing the CBS procedural ahead of its eighth season, due to a dispute with CBS Television Studios to reach pay equality with co-stars Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan. Insiders said Kim and Park’s final offer from the studio was 10-15% less than O’Loughlin and Caan, who each also each have lucrative back end deals on the show.

Since the announcement of the duo’s departure, fans have been critical of CBS’s failure to reach parity with the series’ two Asian actors, while keeping two Caucasian stars on the show. The social media chatter comes after critics have targeted CBS for its lack of diverse leading roles for women and actors of color, in comparison to the other broadcast networks.

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Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim

Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park Exit ‘Hawaii Five-0’

In Kim’s Facebook message, the actor thanked his fans, while addressing Hollywood’s diversity problem, specifically for Asian American actors.

He wrote, “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. To my local community, mahalo nui loa.”

He continued to write, “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. The path to equality is rarely easy. But I hope you can be excited for the future. I am.”

Kim has starred on “Hawaii Five-0” as Chin Ho Kelly since the drama’s debut in 2010 and was a series regular for seven seasons. Prior to the CBS series, he became known to television audiences for his starring role on “Lost.” While he won’t be returning to the small screen this upcoming TV season, Kim’s production company, 3AD, has its first major series coming up with “The Good Doctor” on ABC on which he’ll serve as an executive producer.

Read Daniel Dae Kim’s full Facebook message here:

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  1. Bill says:

    It sucks that they’re leaving the show. That being said the pay rate had nothing to do with racial equality. The 2 stars of the show is Alex Oloughlin (probably misspelled that) and Steve Caan. It makes sense that they get paid the most. You never hear white co-stars complaining that Jackie Chan gets paid more than them…

  2. Diana J Suender says:

    So sorry to hear of the loss of two important actors to the Hawaii 5-0 series. Don’t know if it will be the same without the two. May have to find a new show to watch. CBS should bite the bullet & keep them on the show. I have enjoyed the series but hate when too many changes in cast are made. It is usually never the same.

  3. Frank Romo says:

    So Cann, is worth more than these other two Asian actors? He’s a dud, sorry, but they could let him go, he’s too much of a slug, sorry my take on him….

  4. Gerald Court says:

    greedy greedy greedy
    It takes most people 5 years to earn 200,000.00 and yall want it for 1 episode ? And your not even the main character SMH

  5. Arlene says:

    Boy I will really miss him There are a few I thought should have been “booted” instead
    of Daniel. The show will slowly go down hill……too bad !!!

  6. Cindy says:

    I think it is sad that the head people could not see that Chin and Kono were equal to Steve and Danny. It took these four people together to make this show great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Gale says:

      I love this show and have been watching for years. Why didn’t they all stand together an work it out. The show won’t be the same. I will still sometimes watch. Heart broker, hope everything works out for them, Love you Chin an Kono God Bless

  7. mcgwynne says:

    And you’re a race obsessed moron!!!

  8. Orville Douglas says:

    Hollywood is racist everyone knows this once again people of colour treated like garbage. I commend Grace and Daniel for taking a stand they know how hard it is for Asian American actors to get work. People here seem to think it is okay disrespecting hard working across due to race. CBS is racist I will boycott the show. The racist message is the two white guys Alex O Loughlin and Scott Caan deserve more money because they are WHITE. Notice Scott and Alex are silent says a lot about who they are as people. They did not support publically their Asian co stars.

  9. Jeffrey says:

    Look at all the vile racists accusing Kim and Park of “playing the race card”. Has it ever occurred to you whiners that maybe racial inequality actually does exist in Hollywood? Of course, that would require you to step out of your bubble, where whites are always somehow made to be the victims. Hollywood has always been a very racist institution, especially in the way that it portrays and employs Asian people. I don’t doubt that discrimination caused the pay inequality and I will not watch Hawaii 5-0 any longer.

  10. pete says:

    Can’t play the race card here, supporting cast members. You don’t get the same pay.

  11. Mark says:

    They should have accepted the Network’s offer, since neither Kim or Park are the stars of the show. Hawaii 5-0 is not friends.

  12. Budley Tendre says:

    Sick of these racists blaming “inequality” every time their lives don’t go the way they like.
    These were supporting actors who thought they could manipulate their employer thru bully racial politics. “Ooo! If I don’t get a raise, it’s because I am Asian!”.

    I work on Broadway, and I have seen this game with my own 2 eyes.
    An out of line actor confided in me as his contract was up that “If I don’t get what I am asking…I’m leaving! Do you have any idea how much money the producers are making off this show?”.
    I mentioned that the gas-jockey at Exxon doesn’t get a raise because “the bosses make a lot of money”

    Fortunately, the producer gave him the same answer that these guys did: “Take a hike wich ya racist act”

  13. Shaun Kirby says:

    Good job Daniel and Grace. Sorry to see CBS couldn’t step up but very happy to see you both stick to your guns. As you so eloquently said “The path to equality is rarely easy”. While I only watched the first season or two of your show you were no less valuable (and I’d argue you were more talented) then your counterparts. Getting paid equally as them should have been a no-brainer. Just IMdb his acting credits compared to Alex O’Loughlin. If anything you should have been getting paid more.

  14. Lori B says:

    Bad move CBS… considering these two actors carried the show when Alex was in rehab and Scott is only there half the time. As a fan, their storylines are more integral to the show than another episode featuring Steve surviving another absurd attack and they come to his rescue. Huge fan of Alex’s but this is a wrong move. My opinion

  15. Dave Sugino says:

    Hawaii Five O will not be the same quality show without Daniel Dae Kim (Chin Ho) it shows that Hollywood still does not treat actors of color, especially Asian’s with equality both in pay/compensation or type of dignified roles that are deserved & earned. We Asian’s will miss you Mr. Kim!

  16. Weary says:

    Oh, brother …

  17. Tony says:

    Daniel Dae Kim was fthe most popular actor in the show because of Lost but hawaii 50 is a low demo Friday show so cbs is trying to save all they can with the show. It’s a slap in the face for the Asian community that the two Asian actors are gone from a show called Hawaii 50, specially when DDK was getting as much air time as the two Caucasian actors that in my opinion are way worse actors.

  18. Eric g says:

    Would have liked Alex and Scott to step up and take a cut so they could keep the “core” group together. The show will not be the same. Maybe we do not know all the facts but from what I have read, I think we know Have to rethink about watching next season. Just plain wrong.

    • Tony says:

      They could had done that , easily , with their big paychecks they sure could had done that if they really cared for the show and the other actors . Their paychecks still would had been BIG. But for that you need to be a generous caring person . The Big Bang Theory actors did that, very nice of them.

  19. chancer says:

    LOL at the folks who figure a 15% pay difference is no big deal. I’m sure if they saw a coworker’s check on payday and discovered the other person was getting paid more, they’d all be just as eager to show up for work the next day.

  20. As much as I enjoy both actors, since when does everyone get paid equally? Also, they are clearly supporting roles not the primary roles. I support equality for equal roles but I don’t think you can play the equality or racist card here.

    • Andy Koehl says:

      I haven’t seen an article yet (it’s early, I guess) that helps us work through the important questions: How much screen time do the respective characters have?  Whose storylines are more central?  Which characters are more popular with viewers and more responsible for ratings?

      To call this discrimination (or to say that a pay differential in this case is o.k.) is irresponsible without doing so. Unfortunately, most news media today serves to simply stoke our existing perspectives without ever giving us the information we need to practice critical thinking.

      • Sunny says:

        Andy Koehl. I agree. Just wanted to provide some of the “information” as a observant viewer’s estimate. and some opinions too.

        I know I’ve read many articles on how difficult and taxing Alex’s stunt practice and scenes are. I think he’s suffered a lot physically, and any one who watches the show clearly knows that his combat scenes are probably the most exciting and dangerous seeming amongst all the stars. So, even if just for that and not for screen time it is that he gets paid 15% more, I would be ok with it. There must be reward for constantly subjecting himself through the physical/mental/emotional stress of jumping in freezing waters, in caves, running on roofs, jumping off of building, fighting other stunt men, etc.

        Scott hardly has any screen time… But most of the stories seem to be focussed around him and Alex, although it is clear that Kim and Park are there in every episode and provide much needed consistency to make up for Scott disappearing every other episode.

        So while I think it is justified Alex gets paid up to 15% more, I’m not sure about the rest. Though the premise of the show does trouble me, with two white males being the centre of the show when it is set in a predominantly Asian American setting in Hawaii. However, the story was such, and the show would have had to start with an entirely different story to begin with, if they were going to right the wrongs of White America, and I’m not sure two asian actors can hold one tv producer responsible for a position in a storyline they agreed to in the first place.

    • Pedro says:

      So the white actors are the stars and the people of colour are supporting in a show set in Hawaii. I wonder if it is common at all that people of colour get supporting roles in shows and films white people get to be the stars…

    • Eric says:

      When the show started, maybe, but in recent seasons, they’ve been seen by most as equal to Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan.

    • They are not supporting actors both actors share a billing with the two Caucasian actors hence the the dispute . Perhaps you should get more info before making statements

      • mcgwynne says:

        There are several layers of billing.
        They are NOT equal.

        There’s “Top billing” which is single card with one name only as negotiated contractually and there’s “supporting billing” which may be a shared card with more than one name.
        All positions are negotiable as are salaries and are final until next contract deal.

        Mr. Kim was also obviously finished with his portrayal on that show and decided to move along.

        A ten to fifteen percent difference in pay is not enough to quibble over and then decide to quit as much as it seems a political statement on his part to self aggrandize for the sake of “income equality” which is another pipe dream of the Left whose growing Marxist tendencies continue to alienate freedom loving people.

      • my apology, I wasn’t aware only your opinion was valid

  21. DL says:

    Incredible, this is the same network that threw money at Charlie Sheen for years…

  22. Alex says:

    It’s called get a better agent and stop blaming not getting your way on racism and bigotry. It waters down their meanings and makes it harder for real injustices to be taken seriously.

  23. NanaGwen says:

    They should get rid of Scott Caan who doesn’t like Hawaii to begin with, and split his salary between Kim and Park! What will actually happen? CBS will probably bring in two more non-Orientals to play the Oriental parts.

    • David Matthews says:

      The term oriental is like calling a black person the N word. You dirty alt right scum……..we hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal. How can a nation live up to this creed when you has instances like this?????

    • CJ says:

      Asian. Not “Orientals”. JFC…

    • Eric says:

      Who uses the term Orientals? I’d say that’s a dated, racist term to use these days.

      • Barbara Hart says:

        Well, her handle is ‘nanagwen’ so dated, perhaps unknowingly racist. It is probably less racist than terms her ‘nana’ used. Have a little patience with older folks who mean well but aren’t keeping up.

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