The Flash has fired Hartley Sawyer, who played Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man, today following the resurfacing of previous racist, sexists, and homophobic tweets. Said tweets were posted from 2012 to 2014, before Sawyer joined The Flash in 2014.
Sawyer’s Twitter account has since been deleted. His dismissal from The Flash takes place as the US and the world protests against systemic racism and police brutality against the African American community. Sawyer’s past tweets emerged toward the end of May 2020.
The Flash showrunner, Eric Wallace, released a statement regarding Sawyer’s firing.
“This morning, many of you learned that Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for Season Seven of THE FLASH. 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. Because at present, our country still accepts and protects the continual harassment — unconscious or otherwise — terrorizing and brutalizing of Black and Brown people, which is far too often fatal. That’s why our country is standing up once again and shouting ‘ENOUGH!’ and taking to the streets to bring about active change.
I, too, am committed to bringing permanent change to the work environment here on THE FLASH. Yes, this is a family show. But it is for all families. That includes Black and Brown ones. In order to facilitate this, I will continue to find Black and Brown writers, directors, actors, and producers of all genders to help tell FLASH stories. Their stories are part of the American narrative, too, and must be heard. And the more you hear or see us, the more you will recognize one simple fact: We’re human beings too
To those who still aren’t sure why so many Americans have taken to the streets to make their voices known, I ask you to consider this: Every time a Black or Brown life is harassed or murdered, as in the case of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and too many others, our entire country fractures and moves further and further away from any moral authority we often claim to have in the world.”
My statement regarding Hartley Sawyer and THE FLASH. pic.twitter.com/hni0MxOWZU
— Eric Wallace (@ewrote) June 8, 2020
Sawyer has no responded to his firing, but he posted an apology for his tweets on his Instagram account on May 30.
“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.”
Danielle Nicolet, who plays Cecile Horton on The Flash, also shared a statement on Instagram over Sawyer’s firing.
“t’s a heartbreaking fact of life that today is not the first time I have learned that someone I know, or work with, is not necessarily who they present themselves to be. At least not to MY face… My Black Face… It’s sad and disappointing, but it’s not shocking. This is a significant part of the black experience, and also being a woman. If we learn nothing from the events that have arisen from George Floyd’s brutal murder, it is that this SHOULDN’T be our experience. It CANNOT be. Not Anymore. It is NOT OKAY to allow a culture of racism, misogyny, homophobia and anti-Semitism to thrive in the workplace, at the dinner table or on social media.
I hold no ill will toward my former castmate, or anyone who is on their journey toward self-betterment. As an African-American woman, I was raised to “forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Forgive is what we must do, because without it the pain is too much to bear, and without it we stifle our growth as compassionate human beings.
That said, when you know better, you are required to do better. These past few weeks have been a crash course for this country. I, and every other African-American expect better moving forward. Because we matter. BLACK. LIVES. MATTER. ✊🏽 ———. Please take a look at the statement from our fearless leader @ewrote – who’s said what needs to be said better than I ever could.”
The Flash star Grant Gustin also responded to Sawyer’s firing. He shared Wallace’s full statement on his Instagram and captioned it with, “I don’t have much to add because Eric’s thoughts are stated so eloquently and powerfully. I will say I was shocked, saddened and angry when I saw the tweets. Words matter.”
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