'Kim's Convenience' Star Jean Yoon Says Original Season 5 Scripts Were "Overtly Racist"

"The lack of Asian female, especially Korean writers in the writers' room of Kim's made my life VERY DIFFICULT"
'Kim's Convenience' Star Jean Yoon Says Original Season 5 Scripts Were 'Overtly Racist'
Echoing the sentiments expressed by her Kim's Convenience co-star Simu Liu in recent weeks, Jean Yoon — who played the show's Yong-mi Kim ("Umma") — has come forward to voice her own concerns about the lack of Korean voices in the making of the show.

In response to an article in the Globe and Mail by John Doyle titled "Bitterness abounds: More fallout from Kim's Convenience," Yoon took to her social media to describe her experience with Kim's showrunners, explaining that the lack of Korean voices in the writers' room led to some "overtly racist" plotlines and a "painful" experience for the series' Korean actors.

"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," Jean Yoon wrote in a Twitter thread.

Yoon went on to say that Kim's original creator Ins Choi took a back seat to showrunner Kevin White from Season 1 to 4, and that White "clearly set the parameters" for most of the show. Choi's "diminished" role in the series was "a FACT," she stated, "that was concealed from us as a cast."

When Choi took on a bigger role in the series for Season 5, Yoon says the cast came together collectively to ask for the removal of "culturally inaccurate" storylines, to which Choi agreed.

"What I find tragic about this situation was the refusal to believe the urgency with which we advocated for inclusion in the writers' room. The failure to send us treatments, outlines, the resistance to cultural corrections & feedback," Yoon explained. "The more successfully I advocated for my character, the more resistance and suspicion I earned from the Writers/Producers."

Liu previously stated similar concerns about the show, saying, "Many of us in the cast were trained screenwriters with thoughts and ideas that only grew more seasoned with time. But those doors were never opened to us in any meaningful way."

Kim's Convenience came to an abrupt end on April 13.

See Joon's comments below, and read Exclaim!'s interview with Liu and Andrew Phung about how Kim's Convenience has changed the Canadian TV landscape.