Hartley Sawyer will not be returning to the role of Elongated Man on season 7 of The Flash. Current show runner Eric Wallace confirmed the news on social media on June 8. Some tweets of Sawyer’s from before his time on The Flash surfaced and the show decided to break ties with him.
The Flash ended its sixth season abruptly due to production shutdowns in Vancouver due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It will return this fall, without Sawyer,
Hartley Sawyer tweeted racist and misogynist jokes from 2011-2014
Sawyer’s Twitter activity between the years of 2011 and 2014 resurfaced. He joined The Flash in 2017. Sawyer has shut down his Twitter account but Newsweek reported screenshots for those seeking examples. He made comments about women’s breasts, violence against women, racism and child molestation.
In recent years, other public figures have faced consequences for their prior social media activity. Disney fired James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, but ultimately rehired him after Gunn’s responsible apologies and contrition. Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting The Oscars because they demanded an apology for prior homophobic tweets. Hartley did issue an apology on his Instagram account.
‘The Flash’ wants to set an example for zero tolerance of racism
Wallace confirmed the news that Hartley was out. He explained why it was impossible for him to reconcile letting Hartley continue on The Flash.
“Concerning his social media tweets, they broke my heart and made me mad as hell,” Wallace wrote. “And they’re indicative of the larger problem in our country. Because at present, our country still accepts and protects the continual harassment – unconscious or otherwise – terrorizing and brutalizing of Black and Brown people, which is far too often fatal. That’s why our country is standing up once again and shouting, ‘ENOUGH!’ and taking to the streets to bring about active change.”
Tweets like Hartley Sawyer’s are in part what the protests are protesting
Wallace referred to the protests around the world against police violence. While the protests encompass many things, most importantly the unarmed black people who died at the hands of police, he felt Hartley’s past tweets were an example of institutional racism. He aims to support a world that would not tolerate them in the first place, let alone years later.
To those who still aren’t sure why so many Americans have taken to the streets to make their voices known, I ask you to consider this: Every time a Black or Brown life is harassed, harmed or murdered, as in the case of George Floyds, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and too many others, our entire country fractures and moves further and further away from any moral authority we often claim to have in the world. Murder is not democracy. Systemic and institutional white privilege is not equality. Suppressing the free press with violence is not liberty. The only way for you to be free is for all of us to be free.Eric Wallace statement, 6/8/2020