Though it's one of the more optimism-driven superhero projects out there, The Flash hasn't been without its behind-the-scenes controversies. The superhero drama's latest unfortunate setback concerns now-former star Hartley Sawyer, who portrayed the comics' private detective Ralph Dibney, the alter ego of the super-stretchy Elongated Man. Sawyer was terminated after a variety of offensive messages were unearthed from his social media accounts.
While much of the country was wracked by protests over racism and police reform in the past week, some people were dedicated to unearthing some of Hartley Sawyer's controversial older tweets, which were all crafted at a time before he joined The Flash's cast. Some of Sawyer's tweets were racially insensitive, as noted by the message below.
Hartley Sawyer's Twitter account, which has since been deleted, also featured messages of a more sexual nature, including one where he noted he'd "enjoyed a secret boob viewing" at an audition at the time.
Here's a statement about the actor's firing that was provided by The CW, Warner Bros. TV, and Berlanti Productions, along with the show's current showrunner and EP, Eric Wallace, per THR.
Some of Hartley Sawyer's past messages came up after the actor shared an Instagram message in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, with fans calling him out for hypocrisy in reference to his past comments. It was only one day later when the actor took to the social media site to offer up an apology, though that came a full week before his firing was announced.
Part of that apology can be found below:
More currently, showrunner Eric Wallace expanded upon the public statement and unveiled a larger and more personal explanation for Hartley Sawyer's firing on Twitter, as seen below.
It's unclear at this point whether Ralph Dibney will be written out of the show, or if The Flash's producers will choose to recast him. Considering his romantic partner from the comics was only recently introduced in live-action, it would be a shame if the character disappeared altogether. That said, Sawyer has held the role for years now, so it likely won't be an easy decision to make.
While not related in any way, The Flash previously fired former executive producer and co-showrunner Andrew Kreisberg back in 2017 after allegations surfaced of sexual harassment and other problematic workplace behavior.
The silver lining here is that The Flash Season 7 won't be airing on The CW until 2021, with filming starting up in Vancouver later than normal. Widespread TV shutdowns halted the show's production even before Season 6 had officially wrapped, so expect for the new season to wrap up some story angles before digging into any new stories.
The Flash Season 6 is currently available to stream on Netflix. Stay tuned to our Summer 2020 TV premiere schedule to see what else is on the way.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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