Hartley Sawyer, the actor who played the Elongated Man on CW’s The Flash, has been fired from the show after past racist and misogynist tweets of his resurfaced on social media.
“Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of The Flash,” said a statement released to the Hollywood Reporter by the network, Warner Bros. TV, Berlanti Productions, and executive producer Eric Wallace. “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 policies, which strive and evolve to promote a safe, inclusive, and productive environment for our workforce.”
The tweets in question included misogynist and racist references and more and were posted before he was cast in the superhero show. They have since been deleted, along with Sawyer’s entire account. You can read them at this Twitter thread, which captured screenshots, but suffice to say they’re pretty disgusting. And though his Twitter is gone, his Instagram is not, and that’s where he issued an apology.
“My words, irrelevant of being meant with an intent of humour, were hurtful, and unacceptable,” Sawyer wrote. “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 behaviour. 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.” It continues from there.
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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.
On The Flash, Sawyer played Ralph Dibny, aka DC Comics’ Elongated Man. He joined in season four and became a major supporting character/member of Team Flash since then. His most recent storyline had him finally meeting his comics detective counterpart, Sue Dearbon (who would eventually become his wife Sue Dibney).
Of course, Sawyer’s firing comes as the entire world stands up against racial injustice and police brutality sparked by the recent police killing of George Floyd. The protests have also sparked a wave of people from all industries revealing the systemic racial biases they’ve personally experienced on the job ” that includes Vanessa Morgan from the CW’s Riverdale. Firing Sawyer was the right move, especially when you consider the racist attacks Flash star Candice Patton has had to endure over the course of her tenure on the show for being cast as Iris.
Looking for ways to advocate for black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved.
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