‘Kim’s Convenience’ Stars Blast Her ‘Overwhelming White’ Production Team


The Société Radio-Canada (CBC) touted Kim’s convenience as the diverse gem of his sitcom roster. Just like the other success of the network, Schitt Creek, the series found a much larger audience once on Netflix. Kim’s convenience focuses on a Korean Canadian family running a convenience store in Toronto, and he was appreciated for his candid description of Kim’s daily life and for being “quietly revolutionary” in the way he incorporated and normalized aspects of Korean culture.

But now that the series is over – its fifth and final season was scrapped last week – two stars of the show have said things aren’t as progressive behind the scenes. Actors Simu Liu and Jean Yoon voiced their grievances on social media, calling the sitcom’s production team “extremely white”, the “off-skin” pay and “overtly racist” storylines, among other falsehoods not presumed.

Liu, who stars in the highly anticipated Marvel movie Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings, play Yoon’s son on The convenience of the king. On Facebook, he wrote that while he “saw with his own eyes how deeply it touched families and brought people together,” off camera he “was getting more and more frustrated with the way my character was portrayed. and […] with the way I was treated. Liu said that the Kim’s convenience the writers neglected and rejected the experience of the Canadian-Asian cast of the series. He also claimed that the CBC was deliberately underpaying them for “brand talent” on Schitt Creek, which he said had marks lower than Kim’s convenience.

When a television critic for from Canada Globe and Mail called Liu’s comments “petty” and “unfair”, Yoon took to Twitter to defend his co-star. “The lack of Asian women, especially Korean writers in the writers room of Kim made my life VERY HARD and the experience of working on the show painful, ”she wrote.

Yoon noted that Kim’s convenience was based on a play by Korean writer Ins Choi, who also co-created the TV show, but which his white collaborator, Kevin White, became a showrunner and “clearly set the parameters,” according to Yoon. She said that when the cast got advance copies of their scripts for season five due to Covid-19, some of the storylines were so “overtly racist” and “extremely culturally inaccurate” that the cast banded together to collectively express their concerns.

Finally, Yoon took the credit for the show’s accurate portrayal of Korean food, “If I hadn’t spoken, all of the Korean food on the show would have been fake.” Ins doesn’t know how to cook or how things are cooked, no one else in the writers room was Korean, and they had no Korean cultural resources in the writers room. ”

Suffice it to say that it seems fair to give the Canada-Asia distribution of Kim’s convenience most kudos for making the show as great as it was. But it’s unfair that they had to do all that extra work to cover up the blind spots of a predominantly white creative team – while being allegedly underpaid for their core work as actors. This unfortunate context behind such a revolutionary series underlines that representation does not mean much if it is only cosmetic. Substance must also come from authentic voices.


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