The Flash actor Hartley Sawyer, who plays Ralph Dibny / Elongated Man on the superhero series, has been fired.
Network The CW has decided to remove Sawyer from the show after past tweets from the actor – with misogynist and racist references – surfaced and began to be spread online. While Sawyer’s Twitter account has been taken down, there have, of course, been screenshots making the rounds showing some of what he had written.
Among Sawyer’s past tweets: “Ice Breakers: all women should be in sex farms” from 2011; “If I had a wife I would beat the hell of out her tonight lol” from 2012; “The only thing keeping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me” from 2012; “Date rape myself so I don’t have to masturbate” from 2012; and “enjoyed a secret boob viewing at an audition today” from 2014, among various others.
A joint statement released from The CW, Warner Bros. TV, Berlanti Productions and executive producer Eric Wallace read:
“Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of The Flash. In regards to Mr. Sawyer’s posts on social media, we do not tolerate derogatory remarks that target any race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation. Such remarks are antithetical to our values and polices, which strive and evolve to promote a safe, inclusive and productive environment for our workforce.”
As the tweets were gathering attention, Sawyer released an apology. On May 31, the actor posted to Instagram:
“I am ashamed I was capable of these really horrible attempts to get attention at that time. I regret them deeply. This was not acceptable behavior. These were words I threw out at the time with no thought or recognition of the harm my words could do, and now have done today.”
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My words, irrelevant of being meant with an intent of humor, were hurtful, and unacceptable. I am ashamed I was capable of these really horrible attempts to get attention at that time. I regret them deeply. This was not acceptable behavior. These were words I threw out at the time with no thought or recognition of the harm my words could do, and now have done today. I am incredibly sorry, ashamed and disappointed in myself for my ignorance back then. I want to be very clear: this is not reflective of what I think or who I am now. Years ago, thanks to friends and experiences who helped me to open my eyes, I began my journey into becoming a more responsible adult – in terms of what I say, what I do, and beyond. I've largely kept that journey private, and this is another way that I have let so many down. I still have more work to do. But how I define myself now does not take away the impact of my words, or my responsibility for them. I am very sorry.
The Flash‘s lead actor Grant Gustin wrote on social media that he was “was shocked, saddened and angry” after seeing Sawyer’s tweets, adding that “Words matter.”
Series showrunner Eric Wallace stated: “Concerning his social media tweets, they broke my heart and made me mad as hell. And they’re indicative of the larger problem in our country.”
My statement regarding Hartley Sawyer and THE FLASH. pic.twitter.com/hni0MxOWZU
— Eric Wallace (@ewrote) June 8, 2020
Sawyer first appeared as Ralph Dibney in The Flash‘s fourth season in 2017 and was moved to series regular the following year.