In addition to the controversial exits of its main protagonists, another person essential to the filming of Hawaii Five-0 is said to have been immersed in a behind-the-scenes scandal, and this person was willing to go to court.
Hawaii Five-0 has been part of the collective subconscious of television for quite some time. When the tropical police procedural wasn’t on the air, it made a big enough impression to have audiences pining for reruns or a reboot, thanks in large part to its excess of detail and hidden meanings.
Like the criminal parasites lurking in the underbelly of Hawaii Five-0’s tropical paradise, though, controversies lurked just below the show’s production surface — at least until the cast and crew blew the whistle. .
Behind the scenes, Hawaii Five-0 hid quite a few scandals. For example, Daniel Dae-Kimwho played Detective Lieutenant Chin Ho Kelly, left abruptly between seasons 7 and 8. The in-universe explanation was that he left to start his own task force in San Francisco, but in reality, a long-running pay dispute is why Daniel Dae Kim left Hawaii Five-0 he claimed that he had been paid 10–15% less than his Caucasian co-stars.
In 2015, Hawaii Five-0’s location assistant and office manager Kelly Tolar claims to have sent a memo to managers regarding the behavior of location scout Jake Downer, son of executive producer Jeffrey Downer. Tolar claimed that Jake Downer “acted in an aggressive, unprofessional, offensive, abusive, and/or threatening manner.” In Tolar’s own words, Jake “tells me every day that he should kill myself.” The alleged harassment became so severe that Tolar filed a report with the Honolulu Police Department.
In 2017, Tolar sued CBS, Eye Productions, Entertainment Partners and Jake and Jeffrey Downer for the alleged mistreatment. Tolar’s lawsuit detailed many of the ways she claimed Jake harassed her verbally, mentally and physically. Her list included putting thumbtacks on her chair, grabbing her neck and telling her she would poison the office water.
Tolar’s lawsuit also claimed that Jeffrey knew or should have known about Jake’s activities and “treated the complaints and accusations as frivolous, exaggerated, or just an annoyance.” In addition, Tolar alleged that Jeffrey exhibited a nepotistic bias, claiming that multiple supervisors said he had stated that “someone had to go and it wasn’t going to be Jake Downer.”
While we don’t know all the details of the lawsuit, we can piece together from court documents that Jake received numerous extensions to answer Tolar’s claims. Several days before the final extension deadline, the judge signed a prejudicially stipulated dismissal order, likely indicating that the parties settled out of court; a stipulated dismissal is a voluntary agreement between the parties and prejudice denotes that the matter is closed and cannot be raised again.
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Hawaii Five-0: The harsh demands that the series suffered in its beginnings on television
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