Some shocking news for The Flash fans has just emerged, as Hartley Sawyer, who’s played Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man on the hit CW show since season 4, has been fired with immediate effect due to many offensive tweets recently resurfacing from his past. Since the remarks, which are of a racist and misogynistic nature, were re-discovered over the past couple of weeks, Sawyer has been at the center of a social media storm. And now, the network has decided to take action.
“Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of The Flash,” says the statement from The CW, producers Warner Bros. TV and Berlanti Productions and executive producer Eric Wallace that was released via The Hollywood Reporter.
“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 has shared his own additional statement on Twitter, in which he notes 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
If you’re unfamiliar with the tweets in question, which date from 2009 to 2014, you can find a few of them below. But be warned, they’re deeply offensive.
Hartley Sawyer, you have been exposed… pic.twitter.com/ig5VBXoZmK
— Skai Jackson (@skaijackson) June 5, 2020
On May 30th, Sawyer responded to the controversy by apologizing for his past actions in an Instagram post, saying:
“I’m not here to make excuses – regardless of the intention, my words matter and they carry consequences. And mine can and have caused pain and embarrassment, along with feelings I can only imagine, to supporters and fans, my cast mates, the crew, my colleagues and friends. I owe them all an apology. And I owe each of you an apology. Thank you for holding me accountable.”
He continues by saying he’s “incredibly sorry, ashamed, and disappointed” in his behavior.
“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.”
Sawyer has yet to respond to news of his firing, and The CW has likewise yet to clarify what this means for his character. Given the way Ruby Rose’s own exit from Batwoman is being handled, though, the likeliest option is that Ralph Dibny will be simply written out of The Flash rather than recast.