A New York lawmaker condemned Hollywood for "putting up barriers for Asian American performers" after two "Hawaii Five-0" actors left – reportedly over salary inequity with their white co-stars.
"Asian Americans already face many issues in Hollywood, including typecasting and whitewashing," Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., said in a statement.
"The entertainment industry continues to struggle with accurately portraying Asian American stories and including diverse characters."
"Not paying artists fairly further increases these problems by putting up barriers for Asian American performers to break through in the industry," she added. "I call upon Hollywood studios and producers to address pay inequity, offensive stereotypes, and lack of Asian American representation on and off screen."
According to Variety, actors Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park had been seeking "pay equality" with stars Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan, but could not reach a deal with CBS Television Studios.
Variety reported CBS's final offer to Kim and Park was believed to have been 10-15 percent lower than what O'Loughlin and Caan make in salary.
But "Hawaii Five-0" showrunner Peter Lenkov said both Asian American actors were offered "unprecedented raises."
"The truth is this: Both actors chose not to extend their contracts," he said in a statement posted on Twitter.
For his part, Kim, without mentioning salary explicitly, wrote on his Facebook page that "the path to equality is rarely easy."
"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," he wrote.
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