The Flash’s Ralph Dibny couldn’t stretch himself out of this one: At a time when the country faces racial inequality and unrest, offensive tweets making misogynist and/or racist jokes recently surfaced which did not paint a particularly good picture for Hartley Sawyer, the actor who plays him.
Or rather, played him: Hartley Sawyer has been fired from The Flash.
We’re not going to quote what he said here, but do trust that the comments were inappropriate and offensive. The companies behind The Flash took swift action.
“Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of The Flash,” The CW, producers Warner Bros. TV and Berlanti Productions, and executive producer Eric Wallace said in a statement. “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.”
When Hartley’s tweets surfaced last week, he quickly deleted his Twitter feed and posted an apology on Instagram.
“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,” his own statement said.
Flash showrunner Eric Wallace — who has taken pride in the diversity of the series and is pledging to do more in front of and behind the camera — left a statement of his own.
“This morning, many of you learned that Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for Season Seven of THE FLASH. Concerning his social media tweets, they broke my heart and made me mad as hell,” he wrote. “And they’re indicative of the larger problem in our country. 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. That’s why our country is standing up once again and shouting ‘ENOUGH!’ and taking to the streets to bring about active change.”
“To those who still aren’t sure why so many Americans have taken to the streets to make their voices known, I ask you to consider this: Every time a Black or Brown life is harassed or murdered, as in the case of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and too many others, our entire country fractures and moves further and further away from any moral authority we often claim to have in the world,” he continued.
The Flash is scheduled to return in January 2021 on The CW. There has been no indication on whether or not the role will be cast; since Ralph could change his form, this could be done very easily.