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Hawaii Five-0 star Daniel Dae Kim has discussed the pay disparity with his white co-stars which led him to quit the series.

Daniel left the CBS show at the end of season 7 along with Grace Park, after seeking pay equality with co-stars Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan. The final offer from the network was reported to be between 10% and 15% lower than what Alex and Scott were earning.

In an interview with Vulture, Daniel – who played Detective Chin Ho Kelly – was asked about the negotiations that happened at the time.

Norman ShapiroCBS

The star said that he had negotiated with CBS before, which resulted in him being able to direct as well as start his production company 3AD.

“It was the second negotiation where it became clear to me that I needed to get to a place that would make it acceptable for me to go on financially,” he added.

“One thing that has never really properly been reported is the amount of pay cut I took to do Hawaii Five-0 from Lost. It was drastic, and it was never made up.”

daniel dae kim

Michael KovacGetty Images

Related: Hawaii Five-0’s Daniel Dae Kim announced for his first-ever lead TV series role

Describing the pay disparity at the beginning of the series as “significant” – despite being told before he signed on that it would be an ensemble show (all four stars were also featured prominently in its early promotional material) – Daniel said that his aim during the negotiations was to “make us all equal”.

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“Make us all the ensemble that I thought we always were, and get me back to where I was with Lost,” he continued. “And I didn’t think that was an unreasonable position to take.

“And the thing is, it wasn’t a source of conflict for me. It was very clear and simple. I was very transparent about it with my castmates, with my showrunner, with the studio from the start. It became much more dramatic because of the way that it didn’t come together.”

daniel dae kim, hawaii 5 0

Sky

Asked whether he felt his and Grace’s decision to quit had been “meaningful” to other Asian actors, Daniel responded: “I think that was definitely a part of the decision process.

“If people like Grace and I cannot make those kinds of decisions, how can we expect anyone else to? We had the luxury of being able to say no.”

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Elsewhere in the interview, Daniel talked about how the lead for The Good Doctor was originally meant to be Asian.

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