Hartley Sawyer’s recent firing was not the only scandal to hit The Flash. Read to find out more about some of the real life drama that the series has faced.
The Flash star Hartley Sawyer has elongated his way out of Central City. The actor, who played Ralph Dibny for three seasons, was fired after racist and misogynistic tweets from 2012 and 2014 resurfaced. He did, however, apologise on Instagram, writing “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.”
Considering that Sawyer was a series regular, this is significant drama for the series. At the time of Sawyer’s firing, showrunner Eric Wallace said in a statement that he was “mad as hell”. He also commented on the larger problem of racism today.
However, Hartley Sawyer’s unearthed past is far from the first scandal to have affected The Flash. In November 2017, Deadline reported that co-developer/showrunner Andrew Kreisberg had been fired from both The Flash and Supergirl. This came after he had previously been suspended over allegations of sexual harassment.
At the time of Kreisberg’s suspension, the Warner Bros. TV Group told Variety in a statement that “We have recently been made aware of allegations of misconduct against Andrew Kreisberg. We have suspended Mr. Kreisberg and are conducting an internal investigation. We take all allegations of misconduct extremely seriously, and are committed to creating a safe working environment for our employees and everyone involved in our productions.”
Following up, a statement released regarding Kreisberg’s firing read, “After a thorough investigation, Warner Bros. Television Group has terminated Andrew Kreisberg’s employment, effective immediately…. We remain committed to providing a safe working environment for our employees and everyone involved in our productions.”
Former colleagues Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schetcher also commented, “Warner Bros. Television Group recently concluded its investigation into the allegations against Andrew Kreisberg. We encouraged and supported this investigation, we believe and support the individuals who came forward, and we agree with the studio’s decision. Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of all our colleagues — coworkers, crew and staff alike.”
In April 2020, it was reported that former cast member Logan Williams had passed away. The Canadian actor played young Barry Allen in the first two seasons. He was sixteen years of age at the time of his death, which was described as “sudden”.
It was later revealed that Williams had died of a fentanyl overdose. His mother, Marlyse Williams told the New York Post that her son had battled addiction for three years, beginning when “auditioning became way too stressful.”
Marlyse Williams added that three days before her son’s death, he told her, “Mom, I’m gonna get clean. I’m going to get better. And I want my new life to start.’ I just know the last thing we said to each other was, I love you.”
Williams’ castmates on The Flash paid tribute after hearing of his death. His on-screen mother, Michelle Harrison, wrote on Instagram, “Dear Logan. We are so saddened to hear of your sudden passing. Our hearts and prayers are with your family and parents who we grieve along with. Our #flash family met Logan on the pilot episode of @cwtheflash, and were immediately taken with your gentle smile, your professionalism, and your big heart. Rest In Peace sweet soul. ❤️”
Grant Gustin, who plays present-day Barry Allen, said of Williams, “I was so impressed by not only Logan’s talent but his professionalism on set. My thoughts and prayers will be with him and his family during what is I’m sure an unimaginably difficult time for them. Please keep Logan and his family in your thoughts and prayers during what has been a strange and trying time for us all.”
Meanwhile, John Wesley Shipp, who played Williams’ oncreen father Henry Allen, tweeted “Heartsick to learn of Logan Williams’ death at 16. He was 100% committed to playing young Barry Allen, and we missed him once we moved past that part of the story. Love and compassion to Logan’s family and friends in your grief.”
The Flash airs Tuedays on The CW.
Follow writer Conor O’Brien on Twitter – @CourageousConor