Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for the seventh season of “The Flash” after old racist and misogynist tweets resurfaced online.
Sawyer — who plays Ralph Dibny, The Elongated Man, on the CW superhero show — was fired Monday as a result of tweets from 2012 and 2014 resurfacing that were degrading to women and where he called himself a racist. In one tweet, Sawyer jokes about being at dinner and “exposed myself as a racist, again." He said in another that he would “beat the hell” out of his wife if he had one.
Sawyer issued an apology to his Instagram on May 30 after the tweets resurfaced where he admitted to making “unacceptable” jokes to get attention.
“I am incredibly sorry, ashamed and disappointed in myself for my ignorance back then,” Sawyer said. “I want to be very clear: this is not reflective of what I think or who I am now.”
The actor said that friends opened his eyes to his behavior years ago, which helped him evolve into a more “responsible” adult.
“I've largely kept that journey private, and this is another way that I have let so many down,” Sawyer said. “I still have more work to do.”
The network released a joint statement on Monday along with Warner Bros. Television and Berlanti Productions to announce Sawyer would not be returning for the next season 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,” the statement said. ”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 Flash" is a family show for all families, including black and brown ones, showrunner Eric Wallace said in a statement following Sawyer’s release from the show. Wallace explained that seeing the actor’s social media posts made him “mad as hell” and were indicative of a larger problem.
“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,” Wallace wrote.
Wallace made a commitment in his statement to making permanent change on the show’s set to hire actors, writers and producers of all races and gender to work on “The Flash.”
“Their stories are part of the American narrative, too, and must be heard,” Wallace said. “And the more you hear and see us, the more you will begin to recognize one simple fact: We’re human beings, too.”
Grant Gustin, the actor who plays the the title character, reposted Wallace’s statement to his own Instagram Monday.
“I don’t have much to add because Eric’s thoughts are stated so eloquently and powerfully,” Gustin wrote. “I will say I was shocked, saddened and angry when I saw the tweets. Words matter.”