Fans Launch Petition for Hartley Sawyer to be Rehired on The Flash!
Hartley Sawyer got fired from the very popular show, The Flash. A collection of his past racist and misogynistic tweets had started to get circulated online.
The actor’s tweets, all from before he joined the series, make references to sexual assault. It also contains racist and homophobic language. Sawyer’s Twitter account has been deleted. However, the screenshots of the old posts were circulating online over the last two weeks.
The actor has played Ralph Dibny on the CW series for the past three seasons, since 2017.
“Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of The Flash,” read a statement from The CW producers Warner Bros, thus announcing the removal of the actor.
“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 policy, which strive and evolve to promote a safe, inclusive and productive environment for our workforce,” it added.
As people protest against the systematic racism in Minneapolis, the news of him getting fired comes in.
However, Sawyer issued an apology on Instagram where he said, “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.”
Who tweeted what in this Context?
- Showrunner Wallace tweeted, “This morning, many of you learned that Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of The Flash. 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.”
- Lead actor Grant Gustin reposted Wallace’s statement, writing that he was “shocked, saddened, and angry when I saw the tweets. Words matter.”
- Among the tweets users surfaced in the past two weeks is one from 2012 in which Sawyer wrote, “The only thing keeping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me.” In 2014, he wrote, “Enjoyed a secret boob viewing at an audition today.” Several tweets refer to assaulting women, and one reads, “Date rape myself so I don’t have to masturbate.”
Fans Launched a petition for Hartley Sawyer to be Rehired!
The creative forces behind the series released a statement which said that Sawyer’s tweets ranged from tasteless humor to examples of bigotry. It also made light of domestic violence, stood in contrast to a productive working environment.
Executive Producer, Eric Wallace, who took over as showrunner in season 6, explained the decision behind Sawyer’s firing. Wallace connected Sawyer’s tweets to larger societal problems surrounding the continual harassment of Black and Brown people, in a thoughtful social media post.
However, there has been a contingent of fans who have been objecting to Sawyer’s firing. Those fans have launched a Change.org petition. The petition calls for Sawyer to be brought back to The Flash.
The motivation behind the petition being Sawyer’s dismissal was unfair and that the actor might have grown as a person in the years since he first posted the tweets. The petition has 2000 signatures as of now. Also, there are some predictable denunciations of cancel culture.
Though it is still unclear, at this early stage, how Sawyer’s firing would affect The Flash Season 7. It was announced, in the wake of Ruby Rose’s departure from Batwoman, that the title role would not be recast. A new character would be introduced, instead. In part, this was justified as a way to honor Rose’s contributions to the series. Also, it’s conceivable that producers on the Flash might not feel compelled to remain faithful to the portrayal that he’s established, given the circumstances between Sawyer’s exit.
It is hardly surprising that the petition exists. Literally, whenever a celebrity is held accountable for offensive statements and actions, there are also commentators who are quick to claim an overreaction. For one privileged person, the loss of one job is hardly the most grievous example of injustice and it’s hardly even career-ending. Quite certainly, Sawyer will find another gig. Not just that, he might even find a measure of redemption, if he actively works to atone for his racist and demeaning remarks.
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