Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Actor Simu Liu on the set of Kim's Convenience in Toronto on July 24, 2019.


With a sense of timing that tells you he’s a performer, actor Simu Liu has weighed in on the end of CBC’s Kim’s Convenience.

In a lengthy personal statement on Facebook, to coincide with Netflix streaming Season 5 of the comedy, the actor who played Jung outlined his frustrations, anger and resentment. He makes some valid points and others that amount to impenetrable office politics being aired in public.

Liu will star in a coming Marvel superhero movie, one that might be a franchise, and has been cast in several other high-profile, big-budget movies. He’s a star with an army of fans worldwide and a big platform. One way of looking at his Facebook statement is this – he’s deploying his fans against the creator and producers of Kim’s Convenience. That’s not a fair fight.

Story continues below advertisement

The abrupt end of Kim’s Convenience: Why did CBC let its beloved sitcom close up shop?

The tragic undertow to the final episode of Kim’s Convenience

The 21 best TV series to stream so far in 2021

In particular it is unfair to Ins Choi, the actor, poet and playwright who wrote the extraordinary play called Kim’s Convenience, a landmark in Canadian theatre, and helped steer it into an internationally admired TV series, which is why his name is on every existing episode. Kim’s Convenience came out of his head and life experience, not Simu Liu’s.

Liu says he’s “resentful” about the one non-Asian character, Shannon (Nicole Power) getting her own show, Strays. Now, to the public the existence of Strays might look like a snub to the Asian characters. But it’s more complicated – the Shannon character did not exist in the play Kim’s Convenience, the basis for the series, does not belong to Choi, and the producers acted on that fact, moving onward.

Liu as Jung and Andrea Bang as Janet.

Ian Watson/CBC

One of Liu’s more mean-spirited drive-by insults is noting that Choi left and did not send a goodbye note to the cast. Given the infighting, feuds and spats that Liu talks about, you already know it was a difficult, fraught ending for everyone.

The actor also asserts that payment to the Kim’s cast was “horsepoop” when, that is, “Compared to shows like Schitt’s Creek, who had ‘brand-name talent’ with American agents …”

Well, welcome to television, where the heft of reputation and experience is earned, not handed out to members of an ensemble in their first successful show. Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara have decades of experience, accolades and awards. Yes, they had more leverage than Simu Liu and it is delusional to think they don’t deserve that.

Cast members Liu, Jean Yoon, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Bang.

The Canadian Press

There’s another peculiar declaration in Liu’s missive: “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.” This simply isn’t true; “the stewards of the character” are the creator and writers. Actors use their acting skills. Here, Liu set out to conflate the actor with the character, something fans do, and he should know better.

One assertion by Liu has brought his statement international attention. “Our writer’s room lacked both East Asian and female representation, and also lacked a pipeline to introduce diverse talents.” This isn’t quite true. But it has led to such deceptive headlines as this in the British paper The Independent, “Kim’s Convenience star Simu Liu says Asian cast were creatively sidelined for ‘overwhelmingly white’ producers.”

Story continues below advertisement

The germane part of Liu’s protestation is his mention, just in passing, “Aside from Ins …” To blithely put aside the creator of the play and series, who is most definitely Korean-Canadian, is ungracious and misleading. The show actually had a small writing team. (Choi gets the credit “written by” on all 65 episodes.) Liu is likely assuming that fans think the show had a writing team the size of a U.S. network show, which can have as many as 20 writers. Yes, it would have been noble and pro-active for the producers to hire more Asian writers, and there are more than a few Asian-Canadians who do wonderful work in theatre here.

Yet a glance at the credits for Kim’s over its five seasons lists 13 women as writers at various times, contrary to Liu’s suggestion the show lacked “female representation.” Further, the writing credits do indicate diversity – does an Iranian-Canadian not count?

This column in reply to Liu will not be popular. Liu’s a big and beloved TV star, soon to be a movie star, and his resentments and grievances, no matter how inexact, will be taken as gospel. Mind you, some Canadian actors, of various backgrounds, have weighed in. Some point to the fact that actors of diverse backgrounds have only recently been employed often and in numbers on TV here, making Liu’s assertions understandably fuelled by antagonism toward the old status quo. Others say the enormous success of Ins Choi’s unique creation has been tarnished by petty-minded venting.

Liu’s lengthy statement is welcome, because we get so few ground-level insights into Canadian TV and how it is made. But if you want a verité account of where Kim’s came from and what it means, read Ins Choi’s introduction to the text of Kim’s Convenience (published by Anansi). Now that’s a story of hard work, creation and collaboration that sings, stings and soars.

Plan your screen time with the weekly What to Watch newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies