CW Flash's Hartley Sawyer Fired For Racist, Misogynistic Tweets

When The Flash returns for Season 7 in 2021, it’ll be without one series regular. Harley Sawyer, who played Ralph Dibney/Elongated Man on the series, has been fired. The move comes after several old tweets from Sawyer surfaced, containing racist and misogynistic messages.

The news comes from The Hollywood Reporter, which notes that the tweets were from before Sawyer joined the show. While his account has since been deleted, screenshots of the offensive tweets have been passed around online. According to THR, a 2012 tweet from the actor read, “The only thing keeping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me.” In another, he wrote, “Date rape myself so I don’t have to masturbate.”

In a statement from The CW, Warner Bros. TV, Berlanti Productions, and The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace, those behind the show said, “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 policies, which strive and evolve to promote a safe, inclusive, and productive environment for our workforce.”

Sawyer has also spoken out, apologizing for his tweets. In a post on Instagram, he wrote, “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 continued, “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.”

As for what this means for the future of The Flash, it’s unclear. Sawyer’s character, which first appeared on the show in 2017, is one of the main characters and a member of Team Flash. Whether he’ll simply be gone when the show returns or have his absence explained remains to be seen.

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