Hartley Sawyer, an actor best known for his role as Ralph Dibny, a.k.a. "Elongated Man," on the CW series "The Flash," has been fired from the production after social media posts with racist and misogynistic references surfaced, according to reports from The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.
“Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for Season 7 of The Flash,” according to a joint statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline from Warner Bros. TV, The CW, Berlanti Productions and executive producer Eric Wallace.
“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 policies, which strive and evolve to promote a safe, inclusive and productive environment for our workforce,” the statement added.
Sawyer's firing comes after nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd. Floyd, a black man, was killed after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes.
Since Sawyer's tweets came to light, his Twitter account has been deleted, but screenshots of his posts have circulated online.
“The only thing keeping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me,” a 2012 tweet from Sawyer said. In 2014 he wrote, "Enjoyed a secret boob viewing at an audition today." Some tweets also included jokes about sexual assault.
Sawyer posted an apology on May 30 on Instagram.
"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," Sawyer wrote in part. "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."
"The Flash" executive producer Eric Wallace came out with his own statement following Sawyer's firing. He said the actor's social media posts "broke his heart and made him "mad as hell."
"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," Wallace wrote in part. "That's why our country is standing up once again and shouting "ENOUGH!" and taking to the streets bring about active change."