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‘Kim’s Convenience’ Stars Blast Show for “Lack of Diversity” and “Racist Storylines”


Stars of the Canadian sitcom Kim’s Convenience are speaking out following the series’ cancellation, detailing the show’s “painful” lack of diversity and “overtly racist” storylines.

Actor Simu Liu, who is about to star in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, was the first to open up about the CBC/Netflix comedy, which revolves around a Korean Canadian family that runs a convenience store in Toronto. In a now-deleted Facebook post, Liu claimed that there was chaos behind the scenes, that the actors’ creative input was ignored, the cast was underpaid, and that the production and writing team lacked diversity.

“It was always my understanding that the lead actors were the stewards of character and would grow to have more creative insight as the show went on,” Liu wrote. “This was not the case on our show, which was doubly confusing because 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.”

They’ll put on virtual table reads in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Kim’s Convenience was created by Ins Choi and Kevin White and based on Choi’s stage play. However, Liu claimed that Choi did not offer proper support. “Aside from Ins [Choi], there were no other Korean voices in the room,” he stated. “And personally, I do not think he did enough to be a champion for those voices (including ours). When he left (without so much as a goodbye note to the cast), he left no protégé, no padawan learner, no Korean talent that could have replaced him.”

Following an article that blasted Liu for being “bitter,” actress Jean Yoon, who also starred in the sitcom, shared her experiences on the show. “As an Asian Canadian woman, a Korean-Canadian woman w more experience and knowledge of the world of my characters, 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,” she tweeted.

Yoon went on to claim that White “set the parameters” for the show and that many of the storylines in the draft scripts for Season 5 were “overtly racist” and “extremely culturally inaccurate.”

Your attack on my cast mate @SimuLiu, in the defense of my fellow Korean artist Ins Choi is neither helpful nor merited. Mr. Choi wrote the play, I was in in. He created the TV show, but his co-creator Mr. Kevin White was the showrunner, and clearly set the parameters.

— Jean Yoon (윤 진 희 or 尹真姬) (@jean_yoon) June 6, 2021

The cast received drafts of all S5 scripts in advance of shooting BECAUSE of Covid, at which time we discovered storylines that were OVERTLY RACIST, and so extremely culturally inaccurate that the cast came together and expressed concerns collectively.

— Jean Yoon (윤 진 희 or 尹真姬) (@jean_yoon) June 6, 2021

Under Mr. Choi’s leadership, S5 restored many of the core values of the original show, and most offensive “jokes” were removed. To give you an idea of what we are talking about, here is one scene from the original S5 drafted under Mr. White’s leadership.

— Jean Yoon (윤 진 희 or 尹真姬) (@jean_yoon) June 6, 2021

No one, esp. Mrs. Kim, would be unaware that a garment makes her look naked. Unless she is suddenly cognitively impaired. or STUPID. Stripping someone naked is the first act before public humiliation or rape. So what was so funny about that? At my request, Mr. Choi cut he scene.

— Jean Yoon (윤 진 희 or 尹真姬) (@jean_yoon) June 6, 2021

And I’m sick of holding this back-Koreans hardly ever get MS: 0.1/100,000 or one in a million. You are 5x more likely to get a blood clot from the AZ vaccine than you are to get MS if you’re Korean. The producers: “But why does it matter?”And “Jean doesn’t understand comedy.”

— Jean Yoon (윤 진 희 or 尹真姬) (@jean_yoon) June 6, 2021

What I find tragic about this situation was the refusal to believe the urgency with which we advocated for inclusion in the writers room. The failure to send us treatments, outlines, the resistance to cultural corrections & feedback. There is so much I am proud of. But

— Jean Yoon (윤 진 희 or 尹真姬) (@jean_yoon) June 6, 2021

Kim’s Convenience was canceled back in March following Choi and White’s departure. The fifth and final season is currently airing on Netflix.

This content was originally published here.

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