‘The Flash’ kicks Hartley Sawyer to the curb

“The Flash” has fired Hartley Sawyer, the actor who played Ralph Dibny, also known as the Elongated Man, after a horrid collection of racist, sexist and violent tweets were uncovered, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The first question: Why did it take so long? Why was he hired in the first place? Why didn’t anyone in HR just do a cursory check of his Twitter feed when the network was considering him for the role? How could this really be such a surprise?

Sawyer wasn’t hiding the nonsense.

Here are just a few samples:

From Nov. 9, 2014: “Out at dinner and just exposed myself as a racist, AGAIN.”

From Feb. 3, 2013: “Super Bowl! America! 80 percent of the prison population is African-American.”

From July 8, 2012: “Hey girl – I beat the shit out of my dog when I am mildly upset.”

From Dec. 19, 2012, “I like women who are good in the sack. The burlap sack where I keep my victims.”

From June 28, 2012: “The only thing stopping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me.”

From Feb. 4, 2012: “If I had a wife I would beat the hell out of her tonight LOL.”

Sawyer may have forgotten those tweets as his career blossomed, but the Internet never forgets.

CW executives responded forcefully today.

“Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of ‘The Flash.’ 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,” said the statement from
the CW, producers Warner Bros. TV and Berlanti Productions and executive producer Eric Wallace.

Sawyer apparently deleted his Twitter account but posted an apology on Instagram.

It read, in part, “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.”