While we're still a long ways away from when The Flash will return with new episodes, the hit The CW series just got a pretty significant casting shakeup. On Monday, it was announced that Hartley Sawyer has been fired from his role as Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man on the series, after a series of previous racist and misogynistic tweets from him resurfaced online. The move was accompanied by statements from some of the series' producers and crew -- and now series star Grant Gustin has weighed in. Gustin took to Instagram to share the statement from series showrunner Eric Wallace, while also briefly providing his own thoughts on the matter.
"I don't have much to add because Eric's thoughts are stated so eloquently and powerfully," Gustin writes. "I will say I was shocked, saddened, and angry when I saw the tweets. Words matter."
"Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of The Flash," The CW, producers Warner Bros. TV and Berlanti Productions and executive producer Wallace said in a statement. "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."
Late last month, Sawyer took to social media to apologize for the resurfaced offensive tweets, saying that he is "incredibly sorry, ashamed, and disappointed" in his previous behavior.
"I'm not here to make excuses - regardless of the intention, my words matter and they carry consequences," Sawyer wrote in the post. "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."
"I want to be very clear: this is not reflective of what I think or who I am now," Sawyer continued. "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."58comments
At the moment, it is unclear how Sawyer's firing will end up impacting the narrative of The Flash itself, and whether or not Ralph will be recast on the show or written out entirely whenever Season 7 premieres. This is the second major casting shake-up to hit The CW's Arrowverse of shows in just the past month, after Batwoman star Ruby Rose decided to step away from the series' titular role. Recent reports have indicated that, instead of recasting, the show will be introducing an entirely new character to portray Batwoman.
What do you think of Gustin's comments regarding Hartley Sawyer's firing? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!