The actor was fired from the show on Monday, after offensive tweets he made before joining the series were resurfaced.
“The Flash” himself has condemned now-former costar Hartley Sawyer for racist, misogynistic and homophobic tweets that led to his firing earlier today.
Sharing a lengthy statement from series showrunner Eric Wallace — who said he was “mad as hell” about Sawyer’s messages — star Grant Gustin also shared his reaction.
“I don’t have much to add because Eric’s thoughts are stated so eloquently and powerfully,” began Gustin. “I will say I was shocked, saddened and angry when I saw the tweets. Words matter.”
In Wallace’s lengthier post, the showrunner wrote, “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.”
“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,” the statement continued. “That’s why our country is standing up once again and shouting, ‘ENOUGH!’ and taking to the streets to bring about active change.”
Wallace said he is committed to “permanent change” on “The Flash” as well, promising to fill the show with “Black and Brown writers, directors, actors and producers of all genders” going forward. “The more you hear and see us, the more you will begin to recognize one simple fact: We’re human beings, too.”
Bringing up the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, Wallace concluded his message by saying, “The only way for you to be free is for all of us to be free.”
News of Sawyer’s firing was announced by The WB, producers Warner Bros. TV and Berlanti Productions and Wallace earlier today.
“Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of The Flash,” read their statement. “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.”
All the tweets were sent before Sawyer joined the series as Ralph Dibny, but were resurfaced online — even by former Disney star Skai Jackson — following George Floyd’s death and the subsequent surge in the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Among the offensive messages he posted: “The only thing stopping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me.”
In another from 2014, he wrote, “Out at dinner and just exposed myself as a racist, AGAIN.” He also appeared to tweet messages condoning violence toward women and using homophobic slurs.
“My words, irrelevant of being meant with an intent of humor, were hurtful, and unacceptable,” he wrote in a statement on May 30. “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,” he added. “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.”
He added, “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.”