A disappointing situation. Stars of The Flash have taken to social media to share their reactions following the firing of star Hartley Sawyer.
“Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of The Flash,” The CW, Warner Bros. TV and Berlanti Productions said in a statement on Monday. “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.”
The former Young and the Restless star first joined the show as Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man in a recurring role in season 4. He was promoted to series regular in seasons 5 and 6. It has not yet been revealed how his character will be handled when the show returns.
In the now-deleted tweets, sent before he starred on the superhero show, Sawyer made derogatory comments against women, writing in 2011, “All women should be in sex farms.” In June 2012, he also wrote, “The only thing stopping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me.”
Sawyer apologized for his comments via Instagram on May 30. “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.”
Showrunner Eric Wallace also responded to the firing, posting a long statement via Twitter. “Concerning his social media tweets, they broke my heart and made me mad as hell,” he wrote, before adding that he will be working to make changes behind the scenes too.
“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 and see us, the more you will begin to recognize one simple fact: We’re human beings, too,” Wallace wrote, also referencing the global protests amid the murder of George Floyd. “Murder is not democracy. Systematic and institutional white privilege is not equality. Suppressing the free press with violence is not liberty. The only way for you to be free is for all of us to be free.”
Sawyer’s former costars have also responded. Scroll through the gallery below for all the reactions.