Hartley Sawyer, who played Kyle Abbott on “The Young and the Restless” from 2013-2014, has been fired from The CW’s “The Flash.” The actor who’s played Ralph Dibny (aka “Elongated Man”) on the series for the last three seasons was immediately let go from the series after older tweets resurfaced that displayed racist and misogynistic viewpoints and references.
“Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for Season 7 of ‘The Flash,’” read a statement released to 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.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported the news, Sawyer’s tweets contained references to sexual assault and racist and homophobic language.
The actor’s Twitter account has since been taken down, though screenshots of what was said had been circulating around the internet in the days leading up to today’s firing following the further advancement of the Black Lives Matter movement, calling for the end of systematic racism against minority groups at the hands of police officers across the country.
Although Sawyer’s tweets are said to have been posted prior to his joining “The Flash,” they eventually caught the attention of the show’s producers and left them with no choice but to let the actor go. Some tweets were made just prior to his hiring as Kyle Abbott on “Y&R” as seen via screenshot from a thread posted by the user @themirrorin6x17:
Sawyer issued an Instagram public apology and statement, which read in part, “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. Than you for holding me accountable.”
His full statement can be read below:
“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.”