Actor Hartley Sawyer after a collection of racist and misogynistic past tweets by him started circulating online.The tweets, all from before he joined the series, make references to sexual assault and contain racist and homophobic language. Sawyer’s Twitter account has been deleted, but screenshots of the old posts were circulating online over the past two weeks.
Through a statement, the network announced Sawyer’s removal from the series, in which he featured as Ralph Dibny since 2017, reports hollywoodreporter.com.“Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of The Flash,” read a statement from The CW producers Warner Bros. TV and Berlanti Productions and executive producer Eric Wallace.
“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 policy, which strive and evolve to promote a safe, inclusive and productive environment for our workforce,” it added. The news of his firing comes as people in the US continue to protest against systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
After facing flak, Sawyer issued 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,” he said.
Why Did The CW Took So Long To Fire Hartley Sawyer
Why did it take The CW so long to fire Hartley Sawyer, who was recently dismissed from The Flash after three years of playing the role of the Elongated Man, Ralph Dibny? Roughly two weeks passed from when a collection of Sawyer’s offensive Tweets first began circulating online, to when Sawyer’s departure from the show was formally announced by the network.
Sawyer’s firing has left the showrunners of The Flash with a weighty problem. The character of Ralph Dibny played a major role in the storyline of The Flash season 6, which saw Elongated Man traveling the world in search of a missing heiress named Sue Dearbon. The season finale ended with Dearbon, who was revealed to be a cunning cat-burglar who only played at being a ditsy debutante, being framed for murder and in need of a hero to help clear her name. It is believed this storyline would have started the romance which bloomed between the two characters in the comics. With Sawyer not returning for The Flash season 7, it is unclear how Dearbon’s storyline can or will be resolved in a satisfying manner.
These issues were likely a part of all the complications that came into consideration as Hartley Sawyer’s employment was being reconsidered. Sawyer came under fire for a number of tasteless Tweets he had made several years before he joined the cast of The Flash. While most would grant that The CW would want to ensure that Sawyer was given a fair shake, some are wondering why it took two weeks for a decision to be made regarding whether or not to dismiss Sawyer, particularly when it took Disney less than a day to fire director James Gunn under seemingly similar circumstances, but there were different circumstances between the two.
While the details of Sawyer’s arbitration have yet to be made public, it seems likely that The CW’s lawyers were taking the time to make sure that all the legal P’s and Q’s were being properly minded. Even in a seemingly clear case of contract violation, it can take some time for the fine details of a case to be worked out. The CW also likely had to allow a certain amount of time for Sawyer to offer a defense of his actions and a justification for why he should not be fired. It’s also unclear exactly when the producers became aware of the Tweets after they surfaced, but a full investigation was likely necessary too. It also seems probable that the current delays caused to regular business operations by the COVID-19 pandemic may also have delayed the process.
After what seems like a very careful consideration of all the facts, it appears as though Sawyer’s course is very much set. Despite a spirited fan effort to petition the showrunners to rehire Sawyer, it seems unlikely that they will reconsider their decision. This leaves fans asking two big questions; will the role of Ralph Dibny be recast with a new actor or will he just be written out of The Flash entirely?