Kim’s Convenience star Jean Yoon claims cast complained about ‘overtly racist’ storylines on show

Actor is latest star to speak out against production on sitcom

Isobel Lewis
Tuesday 08 June 2021 09:10
<p>Yoon (third from right) with the cast of Kim’s Convenience</p>

Yoon (third from right) with the cast of Kim’s Convenience

Kim’s Convenience star Jean Yoon has joined Simu Liu in criticising production on the sitcom.

First airing in 2016, the comedy series centres around a Korean-Canadian family who run a convenience store in Toronto. It aired for five seasons in Canada on CBC, but has also found international success on Netflix, with the final season joining the platform earlier this month.

In a Facebook post accompanying the show’s arrival on Netflix, Liu last week accused the show’s producers of sidelining its Asian cast members to prioritise white voices and not giving the characters room to grow.

On Sunday (6 June), Yoon, who played Kim family matriarch Umma, opened up about her own experience on the show, claiming that the script had contained “overtly racist” storylines.

“As an Asian Canadian woman, a Korean-Canadian woman [with] more experience and knowledge of the world of my characters, the lack of Asian female, especially Korean writers in the writers room of Kim’s made my life VERY DIFFICULT & the experience of working on the show painful,” Yoon tweeted.

She said that while playwright Ins Choi and screenwriter Kevin White had created the show together, White was the showrunner who “clearly set the parameters”.

Yoon claimed that scripts on the fifth and final season had contained storylines that were “overtly racist and so extremely culturally inaccurate that the cast came together and expressed concerns collectively”. She said that the offensive “jokes” were eventually removed.

Concluding her thread, Yoon wrote: “In the final bedroom scene in S5, Mrs Kim weeps because she believes that God has abandoned her. The more she prays for something, the more certain it will get worse. That’s what it felt like. The love died.”

The Independent has contacted CBC and Kevin White’s representatives for comment.