'The Flash' Star Hartley Sawyer Fired After Racist and Misogynistic Tweets Resurface
By Meredith B. Kile
The Flash star Hartley Sawyer has been fired from The CW's superhero series after fans resurfaced old tweets which featured racist and misogynistic language.
"Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season 7 of The Flash," Warner Bros. Television, The CW, Berlanti Productions, and executive producer Eric Wallace said in a statement. "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."
Actress Skai Jackson, who has been working with fans to "expose" racists on social media, made one of the most popular posts about Sawyer's old tweets, which date back to 2012. "If I had a wife I would beat the hell out of her tonight lol," one reads, while another states, "The only thing stopping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me."
Another tweet reads "Date rape myself so I don't have to masturbate," while others joke about suicide, "kidnapping homeless women" and the African American prison population.
Wallace issued a longer statement on his Twitter account, noting that Sawyer's tweets "broke my heart and made me mad as hell," and declaring his intentions toward the ongoing protests and Black Lives Matter movement.
"They're indicative of the larger problem in our country," the EP said of Sawyer's tweets. "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."
"I, too, am committed to bringing permanent change to the work environment here on The Flash," he continued. "Yes, this is a family show. But it's for all families. That includes Black and Brown ones."
Sawyer, who joined The Flash as Ralph Dibney, aka Elongated Man, in season 4, issued an apology on Instagram, apologizing to his fans, friends and colleagues and expressing his thanks for being held accountable to his past statements.
"My words, irrelevant of being meant with an intent of humor, were hurtful, and unacceptable," he 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 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," he continued. "But how I define myself now does not take away the impact of my words, or my responsibility for them. I am very sorry."