The Flash's Grant Gustin and Stephen Amell Speak Out After Co-Star Hartley Sawyer Is Fired

Grant Gustin and Stephen Amell have commented publicly following the firing of co-star Hartley Sawyer, whose past offensive tweets recently resurfaced online.
By Samantha Schnurr Jun 09, 2020 3:42 PMTags
Grant Gustin, Stephen Amell Katie Yu/The CW

On the heels of Hartley Sawyer's firing from The Flash, co-stars Grant Gustin and Stephen Amell have publicly joined the conversation. 

On Monday, it was confirmed that Sawyer, who portrayed character Ralph Dibny on the CW series, was fired from the show and would not be returning for the seventh season after his past offensive tweets resurfaced online.  "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," Warner Bros. Television, The CW, Berlanti Productions and executive producer Eric Wallace said in a joint statement to E! News. 

In response to the news, Wallace also issued his own statement on Twitter, condemning Sawyer's tweets and expanding on how they contribute to the national issue of racism. 

Gustin, who plays the show's titular character, reshared Wallace's statement on Instagram, writing in the caption, "I don't have much to add because Eric's thoughts are stated so eloquently and powerfully. I will say I was shocked, saddened and angry when I saw the tweets. Words matter."

Amell, the actor behind character Oliver Queen, retweeted Gustin's post, adding, "Grant is one of the most thoughtful guys I know. He listens... and he wears his heart on his sleeve. Proud to have worked with him...Also... I'm aware that the showrunner wrote this. I'm supporting my friend. That's it."

 

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As for Wallace's statement, he began with, "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," Wallace wrote. "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. That's why our country is standing up once again and shouting, 'ENOUGH!' and taking to the streets to bring about active change."

In his public remarks, Wallace also shared his commitment to continuing to include Black and Brown voices in the making of the show. 

"I, too, am committed to bringing permanent change to the work environment here on THE FLASH. Yes, this is a family show. But it's for all families. That includes Black and Brown ones," he wrote. "In order to facilitate this, I will continue to find Black and Brown writers, directors, actors and producers of all genders to help tell FLASH stories. Their stories are part of the American narrative, too, and must be heard. And the more you hear and see us, the more you will begin to recognize one simple fact: We're human beings, too."

 

Concluding his statement, Wallace wrote, "To those who still aren't sure why so many Americans have taken to the streets to make their voices known, I ask you to consider this: Every time a Black or Brown life is harassed, harmed or murdered, as in the case of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and too many others, our entire country fractures and moves further and further away from any moral authority we often claim to have in the world. Murder is not democracy. Systemic and institutional white privilege is not equality. Suppressing the free press with violence is not liberty. The only way for you to be free is for all of us to be free."

Days earlier, Sawyer issued an apology on his Instagram account. "I'm not here to make excuses—regardless of my intention, my words matter and they carry profound consequences," hie statement began. "And mine can and have caused pain and embarrassment, along with feelings I can only imagine, to supporters and fans, my cast mates, the crew, my colleagues and friends. I owe each of you an apology. Thank you for holding me accountable."

"My words, irrelevant of being meant with an intent of humor, were hurtful, and unacceptable," Sawyer continued. "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. " 

Noting "this is not reflective of what I think or who I am now," he explained, "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."