Candice Patton is detailing the dark side of TV fandoms.
The Flash actress recalled being harassed by fans when she joined The CW series as Iris West in 2014. "I wanted to leave the show as early as season two," she recently told The Open Up Podcast. "I remember being like: ‘I can't do this, I'm not gonna make it through, I'm severely unhappy.'"
For Candice, she felt that The CW and Warner Bros. were lax in their response to the online bullying, as they felt it was just a part of joining such an avid fandom.
But the actress was dismayed that they weren't more considerate of the racism that fueled fan responses. "I think any time you hire anyone who is a minority of any kind you have to be prepared to protect them," she explained on the July 3 episode. "It's like if I get pulled over at 2 a.m. in Jackson, Mississippi, by a white cop. Do you think he gives a s--t that I'm Candice Patton from The Flash? It doesn't matter."
More than that, Candice felt that she wasn't treated the same as her other co-stars, noting that she had to ask if the official Flash social media accounts would follow her "back when I cared about that s--t and wanted to be included."
Despite the perceived lack of support, Candice stayed on the show, which is heading into season nine this fall. "It was such an iconic casting, such an iconic role," she said, "and I knew how much this meant to so many people that I felt a responsibility to stay in a space and a place that was probably very toxic for my mental health."
Conditions on the series have improved for Candice, but she feels that the lackluster response to fan harassment is a symptom of a larger problem, namely the lack of representation among network executives. She noted that white higher-ups aren't always able to recognize micro-aggressions.
"There has to be people in positions of power who understand my experience and understand the Black experience and the Black female experience," she implored, "who can say, ‘Ok she needs protection.'"
Candice continued, "When I step on a set and everyone working around me is white, I'm not protected and I will never be protected. And that's not to say everyone has bad intentions, but they have blind spots. That can contribute to my harm. It's been a learning experience for companies and productions."
Despite this progress on-set, the actress said she's likely leaving The Flash in the near future. She explained, "I think a part of her needs to die so that I can live."
E! News reached out to The CW for comment and didn't hear back.