“When Hawaii Five-0 returns this fall for its eighth season, it will do so without two of its veteran stars. Daniel Dae Kim (who plays Chin Ho Kelly) and Grace Park (Kono Kalakaua) both decided to exit the series after CBS Television Studios reportedly refused to raise their salaries to match those of their white co-stars, Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan. The news is bound to hit fans hard; these two characters have been with the 2010 series since the beginning, and have also been a part of the franchise since the original procedural debuted in 1968. The departures will be addressed on screen in the season to come, but in the meantime, Kim has opened up in a lengthy Facebook post about his decision to leave.
“Though I made myself available to come back,” the actor wrote, “CBS and I weren’t able to agree to terms on a new contract, so I made the difficult choice not to continue.” The writer thanked the cast and crew on the show, wishing them nothing but the best going forward.
He also thanked CBS and the show’s fans, writing, “I will always be grateful for their faith in me to bring Chin Ho Kelly to life. 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.”
As Kim ended his note, however, he added one more subtle nod toward his reason for leaving: “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…”