Simu Liu says his comments about the end of Kim's Convenience 'were never meant to be a massive bombshell'
"I am incredibly appreciative of the work that the team put out for the past five seasons. It's a period of my life that helped shape me in many ways," the actor said in a statement.
Simu Liu had a few things to say about the end of the Canadian sitcom Kim's Convenience. On June 3, following the debut of the show's fifth and final season on Netflix, Liu posted a lengthy Facebook post expressing his displeasure with how the series ended (including the reversal of its season 6 renewal). On Thursday, the actor released a statement to Vanity Fair clarifying his comments.
"The immigrant experience is rarely depicted in mainstream media in a positive light, and for that very reason, Kim's Convenience has a very special place in the hearts of countless fans globally-including mine," Liu said. "Kim's is one of the most unique shows to hit the air, with its focus on individual and communal growth, family, and most importantly: immigrant culture. Kim's gave me my first opportunity to portray an Asian character with significant story arcs and subtleties that most Western Asian actors can only dream of. The show was integral in allowing me to find my voice and shape the perspective and platform that I now have."
The actor went on to explain that his "recent comments on the ending of Kim's Convenience were never meant to be a massive bombshell exposé, nor was I trying to call anyone out specifically. These were a string of thoughts that came from a deep and personal perspective that is incredibly nuanced."
He also praised the Kim's Convenience team for the hard work they put in to the show.
"I am incredibly appreciative of the work that the team put out for the past five seasons. It's a period of my life that helped shape me in many ways," Liu continued. "The entirety of the experience helped me express the passion that I, prior to this project, could not properly articulate: pride. Pride in the individual, pride in one's culture and heritage, and pride in one's community. I am proud of everything accomplished during our run and cannot wait to see how the legacy of the show and others like it impact future generations in finding their voice and telling their own stories."
In Liu's original statements, he claimed he and his cast mates were paid "horsepoop" and also admitted he and his cast mates didn't band together to fight for more money "probably because we were told to be grateful to even be there, and because we were so scared to rock the boat," alleging that the cast was "deliberately being pitted against each other." He also called out the show's writer's room for not having enough "East Asian and female representation" or "diverse talents," opening up a chasm of discourse - especially once his claims were corroborated by castmate Jean Yoon, who played Kim's mother on the show.
Shortly after Yoon's tweets surfaced, Kim's Convenience writer and executive producer Anita Kapila - a South Asian writer - spoke out on the show's official Twitter account, highlighting the multiple women and BIPOC who worked on the show, but not responding to any of the actors' claims.
Back in March, the show's producers announced on Instagram that they would not move forward on a sixth season (despite being renewed for it), as co-creators Ins Choi and Kevin White decided to move on to other projects when season 5 wrapped. According to the post, the decision was made over a belief that the producers "could not deliver another season of the same heart and quality" without Choi and White.
The same month, it was reported that Nicole Power's character would continue on a Kim's Convenience spin-off series called Strays on the Canadian broadcaster CBC. In Liu's Facebook post, he said he was "proud" of his former costar, but added that he remained "resentful of all the circumstances that led to the one non-Asian character getting her own show." Liu, who has been vocal about Asian representation in pop culture, also announced that he would "refuse to reprise" his role as Jung "in any capacity" on the spin-off.
Representatives for Liu didn't respond to EW's requests for comment.
A CBC spokesperson declined to comment on Liu's post, but said the company is "excited to continue working with Simu" on the recently announced series Hello (Again), which Liu co-created. Reps for Choi and White didn't respond to EW's requests for comment.
As fans no doubt know, Liu is headlining the Marvel film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, but he insisted that he "wanted to be part of the sixth season" of Kim's Convenience.
"I've heard a lot of speculation surrounding myself - specifically, about how getting a Marvel role meant I was suddenly too 'Hollywood' for Canadian TV. This could not be further from the truth," he wrote in his post. "I love this 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."
Liu went on to say he was dismayed to have not had a role in shaping his character, Jung, as the seasons went on. "But 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," he wrote.
As he summed up his thoughts, Liu lamented not being able to see greater development of the show's characters.
"In the end… I'm so incredibly saddened that we will never get to watch these characters grow," he wrote. "That we will never see Jung and Appa reuniting. That we will never watch the Kim's deal with Umma's MS, or Janet's journey of her own self-discovery. But I am still touched by the volume and the voracity of our fans (Kimbits...still hands-down the best fandom name EVER), and I still believe in what the show once stood for; a shining example of what can happen when the gates come down and minorities are given a chance to shine."
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