Hartley Sawyer, who played Ralph Dibny, aka Elongated Man, in the past three seasons of The Flash, has been fired from The CW series after a number of his past offensive tweets were surfaced late last month.
The said tweets contain misogynist and racist references as well as homophobic language. Though Sawyer’s Twitter account has already been deleted, screenshots of his old tweets have continued to circulate online in the past two weeks.
In one of his tweets from 2012, Sawyer wrote, “The only thing keeping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me.” In the same year, he also tweeted, “Date rape myself so I don’t have to masturbate.” Then in 2014, he shared that he “enjoyed a secret boob viewing at an audition.”
Hartley Sawyer, you have been exposed… pic.twitter.com/ig5VBXoZmK
— Skai Jackson (@skaijackson) June 5, 2020
A joint statement from The CW, Warner Bros. TV, Berlanti Productions and executive producer Eric Wallace on Monday confirmed Sawyer’s firing from The Flash. “Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of The Flash,” read the 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.”
Wallace also released a lengthy personal statement on Sawyer’s firing from the series via Twitter, which you can read in full below:
My statement regarding Hartley Sawyer and THE FLASH. pic.twitter.com/hni0MxOWZU
— Eric Wallace (@ewrote) June 8, 2020
The Flash lead actor Grant Gustin reposted Wallace’s statement on Instagram and added his own thoughts on the matter. “I don’t have much to add because Eric’s thoughts are stated so eloquently and powerfully,” Gustin wrote. “[But] I will say I was shocked, saddened and angry when I saw the tweets. Words matter.”
On May 31st, a week before his firing was announced, Sawyer took to Instagram to issue an apology. “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,” wrote Sawyer. “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. … But how I define myself now does not take away the impact of my words, or my responsibility for them. I am very sorry.”
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Sawyer joined The Flash as a recurring cast member in 2017 and was promoted to series regular the following year. There’s no word yet whether Ralph will be written off of the show or a new actor will take over the role.
The Flash season 7 has no exact release date yet, but it is set to premiere sometime in January 2021.