Simu Liu had a lot to say about the bad faith and circumstances that led to the cancellation of Kim's Convenience in his massive Facebook post yesterday. Under the many points he raised, there was another big point that stood out. Yes, there was the producers being overwhelmingly white and their biases that led to launching a spinoff series to star Nichole Power, the only white regular cast member, and the way they ignore the Asian cast members' desire to help write the show when creators Ins Choi and Kevin White decided to unceremoniously leave the show, his 5th point about how badly the cast was paid also deserves attention:
"For how successful the show actually became, we were paid an absolute horsepoop rate. The whole process has really opened my eyes to the relationship between those with power and those without. In the beginning, we were no-name actors who had ZERO leverage. So of course we were going to take anything we could. After one season, after the show debuted to sky-high ratings, we received a little bump-up that also extended the duration of our contracts by two years," Liu wrote in his post. "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. 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. Meanwhile, we had to become the de facto mouthpieces for the show (our showrunners were EPICALLY reclusive), working tirelessly to promote it while never truly feeling like we had a seat at its table."
Bad pay and bad contracts are an industry-wide problem, not restricted to Hollywood or Canada but also includes every country with a TV and Film Industry. In the case of Kim's Convenience, it has the added flavour of the Asian cast members being ignored, marginalized and exploited by the producers. Actors are workers and workers deserve respect and a proper wage. Before people start calling the spoiled crybabies, this is how and why your favourite shows get cancelled, why your favourite actors leave a show. The cast of Kim's Convenience stayed not for the money but because they loved the show, and now their loyalty has been repaid by losing the job altogether while the producers get to make more money with other shows, including the white-biased spinoff. Kim's Convenience is now streaming on Netflix.
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