…And just like that he stretched himself off screen and was never seen on The Flash again.
After playing Dibny aka the Elongated Man for three seasons, Hartley Sawyer’s character is no more and will not be returning to the supporting role in the upcoming Season 7 of The Flash.
Fired from the CW superhero show over “derogatory remarks” made on social media in 2012 that were both sexist and racist.
Despite making the posts several years before becoming Dibny, his controversial comments were discovered during a time when there are current protests and demonstrations against systemic racism.
Sawyer’s comments included, “The only thing keeping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me” and “Out at dinner and just exposed myself as a racist, AGAIN.”
While several other cited past tweets were both sexual, misogynistic and disturbing in nature.
In another tweet from 2012, Sawyer wrote: “As a lad, one of my favorite activities was kidnapping homeless women and cutting off their breasts.” In 2014, the actor tweeted he “enjoyed a secret boob viewing at an audition today.” In a separate tweet, Sawyer wrote, “If I had a wife I would beat the hell out of her tonight lol.” There was also, “Outside of the 7/11 where I assaulted my ex-girlfriend lol.”
Since the discovery, Hartley issued an apologize on his Instagram account acknowledging his painful tweets are hurtful and unacceptable.
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. These were words I threw out at the time with no thought or recognition of the harm my words could do, and now have done today.
I am incredibly sorry, ashamed and disappointed in myself for my ignorance back then. 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. I’ve largely kept that journey private, and this is another way that I have let so many down. I still have more work to do.
But how I define myself now does not take away the impact of my words, or my responsibility for them. I am very sorry.
The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace declared he’s “mad as hell” over the comments made by Sawyer.
In a statement released on Twitter, Wallace committed to “bringing permanent change” to the work environment of the CW series before promising to “continue to find Black and Brown writers, directors, actors and producers of all genders to help tell Flash stories.”
“This morning, many of you learned that Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of The Flash. Concerning his social media tweets, they broke my heart and made me mad as hell. And they’re indicative of the larger problem in our country,” Wallace’s statement reads. “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.”
In his vow to bring “permanent change” to The Flash, Wallace continued, “This is a family show. But it’s for all families. That includes Black and Brown ones. In order to facilitate this, I will continue to find Black and Brown writers, directors, actors and producers of all genders to help tell Flash stories. Their stories are part of the American narrative, too, and must be heard. And the more you hear and see us, the more you will begin to recognize one simple fact: We’re human beings, too.”
Referencing the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, as well as global protests sparked over their deaths, Wallace added, “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.” Wallace concluded his statement with the hashtag “Black Lives Matter.”
Grant Gustin took to Instagram to share the statement from 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.”
Danielle Nicolet who plays Cecile weighed on Instagram account in with:
It’s a heartbreaking fact of life that today is not the first time I have learned that someone I know, or work with, is not necessarily who they present themselves to be. At least not to MY face… My Black Face… It’s sad and disappointing, but it’s not shocking. This is a significant part of the black experience, and also being a woman. If we learn nothing from the events that have arisen from George Floyd’s brutal murder, it is that this SHOULDN’T be our experience. It CANNOT be. Not Anymore. It is NOT OKAY to allow a culture of racism, misogyny, homophobia and anti-Semitism to thrive in the workplace, at the dinner table or on social media.
I hold no ill will toward my former castmate, or anyone who is on their journey toward self-betterment. As an African-American woman, I was raised to “forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Forgive is what we must do, because without it the pain is too much to bear, and without it we stifle our growth as compassionate human beings.
That said, when you know better, you are required to do better. These past few weeks have been a crash course for this country. I, and every other African-American expect better moving forward. Because we matter. BLACK. LIVES. MATTER.
Elongated Man was last seen in the season six finale, warning Sue Dearbon (Natalie Dreyfuss), the police were coming after her when she was framed for a murder she didn’t commit.
It is unknown how Sawyer’s firing impacts the upcoming season and whether or not the role will be recast or written out entirely.
The Flash’s seventh season is expected to air in 2021.