“The Flash” frontman Grant Gustin was “shocked, saddened and angry” when he learned about the slew of offensive tweets that led to co-star Hartley Sawyer’s firing ahead of Season 7.
Sharing showrunner Eric Wallace’s full statement on Instagram Gustin commented, “I don’t have much to add because Eric’s thoughts are stated so eloquently and powerfully. I will say I was shocked, saddened and angry when I saw the tweets. Words matter.”
Sawyer deactivated his Twitter account in late May, but his litany of offensive missives from before he joined the CW hit included (and were by no means limited to): “all women should be in sex farms” (from May 2011), “If I had a wife I would beat the hell out of her tonight lol” (February 2012), “The only thing stopping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me” (June 2012), “Out at dinner and just exposed myself as a racist, AGAIN” (November 2014), and homophobic slurs.
A statement from The CW, producers Warner Bros. TV and Berlanti Productions, and “Flash” showrunner Eric Wallace said that such “derogatory remarks that target any race, ethnicity, national origin, gender or sexual orientation … are antithetical to our values and policies, which strive and evolve to promote a safe, inclusive and productive environment for our workforce.”
Sawyer, who joined “The Flash” as Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man early in Season 4, recently offered up an apology via Instagram, saying, “I’m not here to make excuses — regardless of the intention, my words matter and they carry profound consequences. 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.”
The actor also attested that the problematic tweets were “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.” That said, “I still have more work to do.”
“The Flash” is due to return in 2021, opening Season 7 with at least some of the episodes that were left unfilmed when the pandemic shut down production in mid-March. EP Wallace told TVLine he was already prepared to tinker with those episodes over the long hiatus, in part to rewrite crowd scenes that would be difficult to film post-pandemic.
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