Actor Hartley Sawyer has been fired from CW’s The Flash after a slew of his violent, racist, and misogynistic tweets resurfaced, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The concerning tweets were written in the early 2010s, before he was brought onto the cast in 2017, as the Elongated Man.
Twitter user @themirrorin6x17 uncovered the problematic posts on May 26th, posting images of them onto to her account. While the tweets have since been deleted, the vile language is still preserved in her screenshot threads.
Here is a sampling from Sawyer’s Twitter feed:
After the tweets resurfaced, Sawyer released an obligatory apology on May 30th via Instagram:
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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.
However, his apology fell upon deaf ears. Word of the tweets reached the top-brass at The Flash’s production company and the CW, eventually, leading to his firing today. The CW, Warner Bros., Berlanti Productions, and Executive Producer/show-runner Eric Wallace released a joint statement, published on The Hollywood Reporter, about the matter. “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.”
On Twitter, Wallace posted his own thoughts on the matter, stating that the tweets “broke” his heart. He continued, “They’re indicative of a larger problem in our country. Because at the present , our country still accepts and protects the continual harassment […] of Black and Brown people.”
The firing comes at a time of heightened awareness of racial injustice in America. The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, sparked a nationwide conversation on police brutality and racism in America. While Sawyer’s firing may not seem as a large step in the fight against racism, it still is an instance of a man being held accountable for his racists and past misogynistic actions.
Sawyer joins a new class of disgraced actors, such as Rosanne Barr, who have been fired due to past social media posts.