HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As "Hawaii Five-0" fans reel from the departure of two of the show's biggest stars, showrunner Peter Lenkov took to Twitter on Thursday to say the actors were offered "unprecedented raises, but in the end chose to move on."
"The truth is this: Both actors chose not to extend their contracts," Lenkov said. "CBS was extremely generous and proactive in their re-negotiation talks. No one wanted to see them go – they are irreplaceable."
The tweet comes amid claims Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park were seeking pay equity for the eighth season of the CBS show. National reports say the two were making 10 to 15 percent less than co-stars Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan.
Variety magazine, citing a source, said Kim was offered $5,000 less per episode than the $200,000 an episode that O'Loughlin and Caan get.
In the wake of the stars' departures, some have also criticized the show's lack of diversity, a claim Lenkov disputed.
"Over our 168 episodes, 'Hawaii Five-0' has and will continue to showcase one of the most diverse casts on TV," Lenkov said. "I'm proud of that roster and our show."
On Twitter, responses to Lenkov's tweet were mixed.
"You undercut your own message of diversity when you're giving more money to a white actor who's been in less episodes than two Asian actors," wrote Twitter user Mike Smith.
But Lynnette Janssen supported the show producer, saying she is "sorry to see Grace and Daniel go, but it was their choice."
On Wednesday, Kim said in a Facebook post that "though I made myself available to come back, CBS and I weren't able to agree to terms on a new contract, so I made the difficult choice not to continue."
He added, "Though transitions can be difficult, I encourage us all to look beyond the disappointment of this moment to the bigger picture. The path to equality is rarely easy."