The CW’s The Flash producers fired Hartley Sawyer, after a series of offensive tweets from the actor surfaced online.  Sawyer deleted his Twitter account, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, screenshots of the tweets are still circulating.

Warner Bros. TV and Berlanti Productions and Executive Producer Eric Wallace released a joint statement about the firing. “Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of The Flash.  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.”

Sawyer debuted as Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man, in season four, in a recurring role.  He became a series regular in 2018 with a promising storyline straight from the comic books.  The inappropriate tweets were posted before he landed the role on The Flash, but nothing stays hidden these days.  Sawyer issued an apology on his Instagram account, taking full responsibility for his poor choice of words. 

Sawyer’s firing comes during nationwide protests against systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25. Showrunner Wallace issued a personal statement on Twitter about the situation, reminding fans of the importance of the current protests.  The Flash star Grant Gustin shared Wallace’s post on Instagram, stating his own hurt and anger. “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.” You can read both Sawyer and Wallace’s statements below. 

The Flash returns to The CW in January 2021.

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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.

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Noetta Harjo
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