Hartley Sawyer has been playing Ralph Dibney, aka the Elongated Man, on The CW’s The Flash since 2017, working his way up to series regular status and standing shoulder to shoulder with Grant Gustin, who plays the Flash himself.
But that’s all over. Sawyer has been fired by The CW for racially insensitive, misogynistic and downright troubling remarks he made on Twitter back in 2012, reports Variety.
The CW, Warner Bros. Television and Berlanti Productions released a joint statement on the matter. “Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for Season 7 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.”
For his part, Sawyer has apologized via an Instagram post.
The Flash aired its season 6 finale just a few weeks ago, and Sawyer’s Ralph Dibney had a large role to play. Not only was Elongated Man taking his place as one of Central City’s main heroes, but he also had a story-arc that introduced his future wife, Sue Dearbon (Natalie Dreyfuss), so that’s going to have to change completely for season 7.
I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to hear this and not think of what happened with Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn. In July of 2018, Disney fired him after offensive tweets he made years before Disney hired him came to light. His tweets remind me a lot of the ones Sawyer made: they’re shallow shock humor designed to get a rise out of people, making light of everything from rape to the Holocaust to AIDS.
Gunn immediately owned up to his s*itty behavior and took responsibility for making those stupid, offensive tweets. People rallied behind him, both fans and his fellow cast members, and eventually, Disney rehired him. He’s now working on Guardians of the Galaxy 3.
Based on the conversation, I don’t see this happening for Sawyer. Showrunner Eric Wallace and star Grant Gustin, for example, have already disavowed Sawyer:
This isn’t going to be one of those stories.