Grant Gustin 'saddened and angry' by former Flash costar Hartley Sawyer's offensive tweets
Grant Gustin is speaking out against his former The Flash costar Hartley Sawyer, who was fired from The CW superhero drama earlier Monday after offensive tweets from his past were recirculated online.
Gustin, who stars as the show's titular character, shared a lengthy statement from The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace on his Instagram, calling it powerful and elegant, and adding that he was personally "shocked, saddened and angry" when he saw his former costar's old tweets.
"Words matter," Gustin added.
Sawyer's tweets in question were published between 2012-2014 before he joined The Flash in 2017. His Twitter account has since been deleted, but screenshots still preserve many of his tweets. In them, Sawyer mocked sexual assault ("As a lad, one of my favorite activities was kidnapping homeless women and cutting off their breasts"), joked about racism ("The only thing stopping me from doing mildly racist things is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me"), and made sexist remarks ("Things only women should be in: twilight screenings, gynecologists offices, and Porsches).
On May 30, Sawyer posted a lengthy apology on Instagram. "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. This was not acceptable behavior," he said. "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."
Warner Bros. TV, The CW, Berlanti Production, and Wallace announced Sawyer's firing in a joint statement on Monday, saying, "We do not tolerate derogatory remarks that target any race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation."
In a second statement issued by Wallace on Monday, the showrunner slammed Sawyer's tweets and connected them to the protests against police brutality that have taken place across the country since George Floyd's death.
"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," Wallace wrote. "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."
The Flash is expected to return in 2021.
To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
- Color of Change, which works to move decision makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
- Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal services to people who have been wrongly convicted, denied a fair trial, or abused in state jails and prisons.