Dem rep blasts Hollywood after 'Hawaii Five-0' pay equality dispute
© Greg Nash

Rep. Grace MengGrace MengHillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack Progressives oppose spending stopgap measure over surveillance authority extension Hillicon Valley: Ocasio-Cortez clashes with former Dem senator over gig worker bill | Software engineer indicted over Capital One breach | Lawmakers push Amazon to remove unsafe products MORE (D-N.Y.) ripped Hollywood studios on Thursday after reports that two Asian-American actors on CBS's "Hawaii Five-0" had left the show amid disputes over pay equality.

Actors Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park, who both held prominent roles on the show, chose not to extend their contracts with the network after they were reportedly offered 10-15 percent less than what the show's stars Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan were paid.

That two Asian-American actors were paid less than their white co-stars signaled a need to address racial inequality in Hollywood, Meng said in a statement.

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"Asian Americans already face many issues in Hollywood, including typecasting and whitewashing," Meng said. "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.”

"Hawaii Five-0" showrunner Peter Lenkov responded to reports of pay inequality on Thursday, saying that "CBS was extremely generous" to Kim and Park, who were getting "unprecedented raises."

"The truth is this: Both actors chose not to extend their contracts," he said in a statement.

In a message posted on his Facebook on Wednesday, Kim expressed gratitude for his experience on the show, but announced that he was unable to reach a deal with CBS. He never explicitly discussed pay inequality in the message.

"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, later adding that, "The path to equality is rarely easy."