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Hartley Sawyer, who played Ralph Dibny on The CW superhero series The Flash for the last three seasons, has been fired from the show after offensive tweets from his now-deleted Twitter account resurfaced. The CW announced Monday that Sawyer will not return for the show's upcoming seventh season.
"Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of The Flash," The CW, producers Warner Bros. TV and Berlanti Productions and executive producer Eric Wallace said in a statement to SYFY WIRE. "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."
The firing was first reported in The Hollywood Reporter.
Sawyer's Twitter account is no longer active, but in recent weeks users began circulating screenshots of tweets dating back to 2012 in which the actor — who joined The Flash in 2017 as Dibny, aka The Elongated Man — made statements like "Enjoyed a secret boob viewing at an audition today" and "The only thing keeping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me." You can read a thread of the screenshots here. Sawyer's firing comes as activists around the world are holding massive protests against systemic racism and police brutality against Black people.
Sawyer responded to his firing Monday by issuing an apology on his Instagram page.
"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," he wrote, in part. "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."
Wallace also commented on the matter via Twitter.
The Flash star Grant Gustin shared Wallace's sentiment, while noting he was "shocked, saddened, and angry" upon seeing Sawyer's tweets.
After an abbreviated sixth season, The Flash is set to return for Season 7 in early 2021 on The CW.