One of the stars of the popular sitcom Kim’s Convenience is accusing producers of failing to respect the show’s Asian actors, claiming the “overwhelmingly white” staff of writers and producers failed to give full dimension to the principal cast.
Actor Simu Liu claimed the show’s Asian stars were paid a “horsepoop rate” throughout its five-season run. He also expressed mixed emotions about the show’s only white principal character getting a spin-off series. His comments follow recent news that Kim’s Convenience won’t be returning in 2022. (The show airs on the CBC in Canada and streams on Netflix in the U.S.)
“I’m feeling a host of emotions right now,” Liu wrote on Facebook. “There’s been a lot of talk and speculation about what happened, and I want to do my best to give accurate information.”
He said the Kim’s Convenience cast was paid “an absolute horsepoop rate” compared to other hit Canadian sitcoms, like Schitt’s Creek.
“Basically we were locked in for the foreseeable future at a super-low rate… an absolute DREAM if you are a producer,” he wrote.
“But we also never banded together and demanded more — probably because we were told to be grateful to even be there, and because we were so scared to rock the boat. Maybe also because we were too busy infighting to understand that we were deliberately being pitted against each other.”
Liu also claimed the show lacked Asian “representation” in the writers’ room. As a result, he wrote, they “missed opportunities to show Asian characters with real depth and the ability to grow and evolve.”
He also dissed playwright Ins Choi, whose stage play inspired the sitcom. “[He] left no protege, no padawan learner, no Korean talent that could have replaced him,” the actor wrote.
Liu said he has mixed feelings about co-star Nicole Power, who is white, receiving a spin-off show.
“It’s been difficult for me,” Liu wrote. “I love and am proud of Nicole, and I want the show to succeed for her… but I remain resentful of all of the circumstances that led to the one non-Asian character getting her own show.”
“And not that they would ever ask, but I will adamantly refuse to reprise my role in any capacity.”
Simu Liu stars in Marvel’s upcoming blockbuster movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which is set for release in September.