"The path to equality is rarely easy," writes "Hawaii Five-0" after seven seasons.
Fans of the CBS show were shocked by the recent news that both Daniel Dae Kim (Chin Ho Kelly) and fellow original cast member Grace Park (Kono Kalakaua) would not be returning for Season 8. Initial reports claimed the stars were seeking pay equity with Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan, and the talks didn't work out. Kim's new Facebook post seems to confirm that, leading to his "sad" and "difficult choice" to leave the show.
Here's what the "Lost" alum posted on July 5:
"A MESSAGE TO MY FANS ABOUT HAWAII 5-0
Sorry for the delay in hearing from me, but like you I'm sure, my July 4th holiday was busy with friends and family. I'm back now and didn't want to let any more time go by without reaching out. 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.
As sad as it feels to say goodbye, what I feel most is gratitude. I am so deeply thankful to our crew, writers and everyone associated with the show – and especially the cast, who have been nothing but supportive through this entire process. They and the crew have been my second family for seven years and I wish them nothing but success for season 8 - and beyond.
I also want to say to thank you to Peter Lenkov, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and everyone at CBS. 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.
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.
Finally, I want to thank all of you, the fans. I've read your messages and I can't tell you how much they've meant to me. I never, ever forget that YOU are the reason Hawaii Five-0 is the success that it is, and interacting with you online and in person around the world(!) has been one of the greatest joys of this entire experience. I'm so sorry we won't be continuing this journey together.
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. 5-0 continues on after one of its strongest seasons. I've got new acting projects on the horizon, and as a producer, my company, 3AD, has its first show, THE GOOD DOCTOR, set to air this fall on ABC. I hope you'll tune in. There's a lot to look forward to and I'll be sure to share it with you. In the meantime,
Aloha, thank you and Happy Independence Day!
Season 8 premieres September 29 on CBS.
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