A show once lauded for its lighthearted depiction of Korean-Canadian culture is now under attack by its own stars.
The CBC show “Kim’s Convenience” recently aired its fifth and final season on Netflix. But while its creator, Korean-Canadian playwright and screenwriter Ins Choi, sought to convey the ups and downs of a Korean immigrant family running a convenience store in Toronto, the show’s actors were paid a “horsepoop rate” and experienced a “painful” lack of diversity in production and “overtly racist” storylines, online posts by cast members claim.
Meanwhile, white actress Nicole Power’s character Shannon Ross will be getting a spinoff, castmate Simu Liu, 32, wrote in a lengthy Facebook post.
Reps for Power, as well as the CBC and Choi, did not respond to The Post’s requests for comment on the claims launched by Liu and his co-star, Jean Yoon.
“It’s been difficult for me. 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,” Liu wrote, mentioning he would “adamantly refuse” to reprise his role of Jung Kim.
According to Liu, that was one of many race-related issues surrounding his show.
“Our producers were overwhelmingly white and we were a cast of Asian Canadians who had a plethora of lived experiences to draw from and offer to writers. But we were often told of the next seasons’ plans mere days before we were set to start shooting… there was deliberately not a lot of leeway given to us,” he wrote.
Yoon, 59, who portrayed matriarch Mrs. Yong-mi Kim, also criticized the lack of diversity in the show’s writing.
“The lack of Asian female, especially Korean writers in the writers room of Kims made my life VERY DIFFICULT & the experience of working on the show painful,” Yoon wrote on Twitter.
In another tweet, she called some storylines out of the final season “OVERTLY RACIST.”
Liu also wrote that considering the show’s success, he along with other actors were paid a “horsepoop rate.”
“Compared to shows like Schitt’s Creek, who had ‘brand-name talent’ with American agents, but whose ratings were not as high as ours, we were making NOTHING. Basically we were locked in for the foreseeable future at a super-low rate… an absolute DREAM if you are a producer,” he wrote.
Liu said that cast members didn’t band together to demand a higher wage because they were “scared to rock the boat” and were too busy fighting among themselves.
“Speaking for myself personally, I often felt like the odd man out or a problem child. This one is hard because I recognize that a lot of it reflected my own insecurities at the time, but it was buoyed by things that happened in real life; nomination snubs, decreasing screen time, and losing out on opportunities that were given to other cast members,” Liu wrote.
The actor, who will star in Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” due out in September, also made it clear he did not become “too Hollywood” for the Canadian program.
“I wanted to be a part of the sixth season,” Liu wrote, expressing admiration for the day-to-day crews on set along with his love for the show “and everything it stood for.”
“I saw firsthand how profoundly it impacted families and brought people together. It’s truly SO RARE for a show today to have such an impact on people, and I wanted very badly to make the schedules work,” he added.