The Elongated Man can’t squeeze his way out of this latest predicament.
The Flash’s Hartley Sawyer, who plays Ralph Dibny/The Elongated Man on the CW superhero show, has been fired after old tweets he made featuring racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments resurfaced.
Sawyer had deactivated his Twitter account some time ago, but screenshots of tweets from 2011-2014 have been circulating on Twitter. The problematic tweets, which were posted prior to him joining the show, include comments such as "all women should be in sex farms," "If I had a wife I would beat the hell out of her tonight lol," "enjoyed a secret boob viewing at an audition today," and "The only thing stopping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me."
Hartley Sawyer, you have been exposed... pic.twitter.com/ig5VBXoZmK
— Skai Jackson (@skaijackson) June 5, 2020
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, who broke the story, The CW, Warner Bros. TV, Berlanti Productions and showrunner/executive producer Eric Wallace 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 polices, which strive and evolve to promote a safe, inclusive and productive environment for our workforce."
Wallace also tweeted his own statement, saying that Sawyer’s tweets “broke my heart and made me mad as hell.”
My statement regarding Hartley Sawyer and THE FLASH. pic.twitter.com/hni0MxOWZU
— Eric Wallace (@ewrote) June 8, 2020
The Flash's leading man Grant Gustin reposted Wallace's comments on Instagram, adding in the caption "I don't have much to add because Eric's thoughts are stated so eloquently and powerfully. I will say I was shocked, saddened and angry when I saw the tweets. Words matter."
Sawyer has since issued an apology on Instagram, posting in part, "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."
View this post 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. 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.
The actor first joined The Flash in Season 4, appearing as a recurring guest beginning in 2017 before being promoted to a series regular in 2018. Many fans found his character’s early episodes problematic (he often referred to women by their measurements instead of their names - a joke that was repeated multiple times), but the show had since attempted to soften Ralph’s edges. This season, which was cut short to due COVID-19, introduced the character of Sue Dearbon (played by Natalie Dreyfuss), who eventually becomes Ralph’s wife in the comics. There is no word whether the character will be recast or simply be absent when The Flash eventually returns for its seventh season.
This is the latest upheaval in the CW’s Arrowverse. Last month, Ruby Rose announced that she would not be returning as the lead of Batwoman after only one season.