Actor Hartley Sawyer has been fired from The CW's popular superhero series The Flash after several racist and misogynist tweets from a few years ago were brought to the surface. The tweets, many from 2012 and 2014, were brought to the surface over the past couple of weeks, leading to the producers' decision to let Sawyer go. He has portrayed Ralph Dibney on The Flash for the last three seasons.
"Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of The Flash," reads a statement from The CW, producers Warner Bros. TV and Berlanti Productions and executive producer Eric Wallace (per 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."
Sawyer's Twitter account is no longer active, but photos of his tweets have continued to circulate online. In one of these tweets, which was posted in 2012, Sawyer claimed that he only didn't tweet racist jokes because "Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me." In another of the tweets, this one from 2014, Sawyer said he "Enjoyed a secret boob viewing at an audition today."
On May 30th, after the tweets had surfaced online, Sawyer took to Instagram to issue an apology.
"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."
He goes on to say that he is "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 was cast as Ralph Dibny on The Flash back in 2017 and he was upped to series regular status in 2018. It's unclear at this point if Dibny will be written off of the show or if Sawyer will simply be recast.