Harley Sawyer, who plays the Elongated Man in CW's "The Flash," was fired after his racist and misogynistic tweets recently surfaced.
Sawyer joined the show in season 4, playing the ex-cop turned private investigator Ralph Dibny who becomes a member of Team Flash. Sawyer became a regular in the series since season 5 and remained part of the main cast in season 6.
In season 6, Dibny dealt with tracking down Sue Dearbon, based on the character of Sue Dibny who is Elongated Man's wife in the DC comics. However, season 6 was shortened as production was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. The season ended three episodes earlier than the original plan. However, with these recent developments, Sawyer will no longer be returning as Ralph when season 7 premieres, according to a report from ScreenRant.
Actor Hartley Sawyer fired for racist and misogynist tweets ahead of 'The Flash' season 7
a collection of @HartleySawyer's misogynistic, racist, fatphobic, etc. tweets (sorry if there's duplicates) pic.twitter.com/Kv0afDbiP1 — steph // not affiliated with The CW (@themirrorin6x17) May 30, 2020
The CW, production companies Warner Bros. TV and Berlanti Productions, and executive producer Eric Wallace released a statement after Sawyer was fired for his racist and misogynistic tweets that surfaced online. "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," the statement said. Those comments go against the company's values and policies, "which strive and evolve to promote a safe, inclusive, and productive environment for our workforce." The tweets were posted between 2012 and 2014. Sawyer has since issued an apology on his Instagram on May 30 saying his tweets were the fruits of his ignorance then, but those are "not reflective of what I think or who I am now." He later deleted his Twitter account, although screenshots of his controversial tweets have remained on social media.
View this post on InstagramMy 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. A post shared by Hartley Sawyer (@hartleysawyer) on May 30, 2020 at 11:59am PDT
Other actors who were fired for their tweets
Sawyer is not the first to be axed because of what they shared on social media. In 2018, ABC canceled the Roseanne show after Roseanne Barr sent racist tweets. The network then developed The Connors, a spinoff of Roseanne minus the actress.
Similarly, James Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy 3, although he apologized for his tweets on more than one occasion before he was fired. Also, his old tweets were intended to attack the director for his progressive views. Since Gunn showed remorse and growth over time, Disney later rehired him.
don’t watch the next Suicide Squad or Guardians movie then @JamesGunn pic.twitter.com/eamnfFnIau — Adalia (Addie) (@HelpfulSix) June 8, 2020
In contrast, despite Sawyer's apology and the length of time since the tweets were posted, The Flash producers felt compelled to fire the actor before season 7. The producers' response to Sawyer's tweets was cheered by the show's fans as it affirmed their desire to distance themselves from Sawyer's insensitive tweets.
As of this writing, it is still unclear how the show will continue without Ralph Dibny for next season. Producers may recast the character or just take the character out of the show.
In related news, earlier this week, CW announced that Batwoman will be taking out Kate Kane's character after Ruby Rose left the show. Instead, the show will introduce a new character to take over the lead role.
View this post on InstagramDon’t miss this one. Years in the making and @nataliedreyfuss brilliantly brings Sue to life - she crushes it. Killer script by @tpound and @ellecerts - Had a blast! All new @cwtheflash tonight! #theflash A post shared by Hartley Sawyer (@hartleysawyer) on Feb 18, 2020 at 4:59pm PST