The CW series “The Flash” will not see the return of actor Hartley Sawyer, who played the role of superhero Ralph Dibny or Elongated Man. The actor was reportedly fired from the series for his “misogynist and racist references” in his old posts on Twitter.
“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, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “In regard 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.”
As per the report, the tweet on the actor’s now-deleted account was from the time before he was cast on The CW series. The posts reportedly “make references to sexual assault and contain racist and homophobic language.” While Sawyer’s account is deleted, the screengrabs from his old posts are being circulated on the internet and have drawn the attention of the showrunners.
The tweets surfaced on the web in the past two weeks amid the protest demanding justice for George Floyd and Black Lives Matter Movement. The tweets were posted in the year 2012 and 2014 and had several references for assaulting women. One of the tweets read, “Date rape myself so I don’t have to masturbate,” as quoted in the report.
On May 31, Sawyer issued a lengthy statement apologising for his tweets and comments on his official Instagram account.
“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,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, responding to the tweets, showrunner Eric Wallace said that Sawyer’s past tweets “broke my heart and made me mad as hell.” In addition, the leading actor of “The Flash” Grant Gustin shared Wallace’s statement on his official Instagram account and wrote: “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.”
Sawyer joined “The Flash” in season 4 as a recurring cast member. He was promoted to a series regular in Season 5 and 6.