Actor Hartley Sawyer has reportedly been fired from the cast of The CW’s The Flash, on which he has played Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man for three years, after a series of old racist and misogynist tweets surfaced last week. The firing was announced today in a statement from The CW, WB TV and Berlanti Productions, and The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace.
Here’s the full statement as reported by THR:
“Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of The Flash,” reads a statement from The CW, producers Warner Bros. TV and 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 polices, which strive and evolve to promote a safe, inclusive and productive environment for our workforce.”
Wallace, himself a black man, also issued an additional statement regarding the reasoning behind Sawyer’s firing:
My statement regarding Hartley Sawyer and THE FLASH. pic.twitter.com/hni0MxOWZU
— Eric Wallace (@ewrote) June 8, 2020
Sawyer’s tweets (which you can read here, but honestly I wouldn’t bother if I were you), all of which are from between 2011 and 2014, predate his time on The Flash, though not by much, as he joined the series in 2017. They read like the poor attempts at humor of a struggling comedian trying to be edgy and get a reaction. Sawyer (who has since deleted his Twitter account) admits as much in an apology he issued on Instagram last week:
View this post on Instagram
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.
A post shared by Hartley Sawyer (@hartleysawyer) on
This is really disappointing news, not just because of the content of what Sawyer tweeted, but because of what his (totally justified) firing means for the show going forward. I’ve enjoyed the levity that Ralph Dibny has brought to The Flash since he joined the show during its fourth season, and the addition of Natalie Dreyfuss as Ralph’s future comic book wife, Sue Dearbon, was a nice shot-in-the-arm for the most recent season of the series. No word on whether the series will recast Ralph with another actor or just write the character out of the series.
The Flash will return for its seventh season in 2021.
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