by Thinus Ferreira
Actor Hartley Sawyer has been fired by Warner Bros Television and Berlanti Productions and won't be back on the superhero series The Flash seen on M-Net City (DStv 115) after a barrage of shocking and disgusting messages from him surfaced on social media, ranging from racist to homophobic and misogynistic tweets, including about sexual assault.
Hartley Sawyer appeared as the character of Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man on The Flash since the 4th season in 2017 and was upped to regular cast member status in 2018 but he has now been fired by Warner Bros. TV, Berlanti Productions and the CW TV network in the United States.
"In regards to Hartley Sawyer's posts on social media, we do not tolerate derogatory remarks that target any race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation," says Warner Bros TV, Berlanti Productions and The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace in a statement.
"Such remarks are antithetical to our values and policies, which strive and evolve to promote a safe, inclusive and productive environment for our workforce."
In a separate statement Eric Wallance, on Twitter, said that "Concerning Hartley Sawyer's social media tweets, they broke my heart and made me mad as hell. And they're indicative of the larger problem in our country".
"I am committed to bringing permanent change to the work environment here on The Flash. I will continue to find black and brown writers, directors, actors and producers of all genders to help tell The 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."
Although Hartley Sawyer deactivated his Twitter account his disgusting, extremely offensive and disturbing public remarks surfaced from before he joined The Flash as shocking screenshots and circulated in public over the past two weeks.
In May 2011 he wrote that "all women should be in sex farms" and in February 2012 that "If I had a wife I would beat the hell out of her tonight LOL".
In June 2012 he tweeted that "The only thing stopping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me".
In December 2012 he wrote that "one of my favourite activities was kidnapping homeless women and cutting off their breasts" and later that same month "Outside of the 7-11 where I assaulted my ex-girlfriend".
Others include "the biggest lie the devil ever pulled was convincing me he didn't have genital warts before he sexed me" and "Date rape myself so I don't have to masturbate".
In February 2014 he wrote "Enjoyed a secret boob viewing at an audition today" and in April 2014 that his "whore dog hasn't joined me in bed yet" and that "I think I could work at a tit factory and be pretty happy
and in November 2014 that he is "Out at dinner and just exposed myself as a racist, AGAIN".
Later that month he said "Jingle bells, batman smells, women shouldn’t vote".
On Instagram the self-proclaimed racist offered up an apology, writing that "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 castmates, 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."
"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."
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.