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Though TV productions have put a stronger focus on equality and inclusion in recent years, no one would likely claim the problem has been solved. Former Hawaii Five-0 star Grace Park likely has some strong feelings about the issue, seeing as how she and Daniel Dae Kim both departed the CBS drama in 2017, with failed salary negotiations being the plainly stated cause. For well over a year now, Park remained silent about everything (unlike Kim), but she's now opened up about the experience, even if she's still not pointing any fingers.
There were a number of factors spanning the show that affected the non-renewal of my contract. I'm grateful for the lessons learned, but I chose what was best for my integrity. I know that people are always trying their best, and everyone's coming from their own backgrounds. Throughout the whole series, I kept trying to see the best in everybody. Would I do it all over again? I wouldn't be so quick to say yes... I'm still figuring stuff out. Sometimes people are just really good at burying stuff, and I think I'm like that.
Grace Park's words were measured and carefully put together, making it a more respectful and intelligent response than the ones that many other celebrities would have put out there. She isn't laying all of the blame at the feet of CBS and Hawaii Five-0's producers, but also isn't exempting those parties from affecting her decision. Because, as it goes with so many things in life, it couldn't just be boiled down to one particular element.
At the time of Grace Park's departure, Hawaii Five-0 had wrapped up Season 7 and was on the way to putting Season 8 together. The biggest reason reported for Park and Daniel Dae Kim's exit was a dispute over salaries, with Park and Kim reportedly seeing pay parity with co-stars Scott Caan and Alex O'Loughlin. It was stated that CBS Television Studios' offer was significantly less than what was being sought out, and so both actors chose not to renew their contracts. But while that may have factored into the outcome, Park apparently had more reasons influencing her to leave.
And for what it's worth, Grace Park told EW that Hawaii Five-0 executive producer Peter M. Lenkov had stepped out of line when he took to social media with his own half-explanation for the actress' absence, implying that she wanted to get closer to her family after being away from them for the seven years that she'd starred on the consistent CBS hit. In her words:
The whole situation was just a bit too charged for me. I let him know, 'That wasn't cool that you made a statement on my behalf.'... I know he did it to be helpful, and I care about Peter as a person, but I didn't leave for that reason.
Grace Park is definitely looking forward, and not to the past, as she's set to star in the new ABC drama A Million Little Things, which looks to be one of the more emotionally heavy new shows of the year. It'll debut on Wednesday, September 26, at 10:00 p.m. ET, while Hawaii Five-0 Season 9 will bring a new antagonistic force to CBS on Friday, September 28, at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what other new and returning shows are on the way, head to our fall TV premiere schedule.