Hartley Sawyer: The Flash actor fired over offensive tweets

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Hartley SawyerImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Hartley Sawyer has apologised for his comments but says they were meant to be humorous

Actor Hartley Sawyer has been fired from US superhero TV show The Flash after offensive tweets resurfaced.

Sawyer, who played Ralph Dibny/the Elongated Man, apologised after posts containing sexist and racist references emerged.

Sawyer said the tweets were "hurtful and unacceptable" and that "I regret them deeply".

The Flash producers announced he would not feature in the seventh series of The CW channel's show.

Sawyer, who joined the drama in 2017, has now deleted his Twitter account, but screenshots of the offending tweets have circulated online.

Image source, Araya Diaz
Image caption,
Executive producer Eric Wallace (left) and The Flash cast members took part in Comic-Con International

Warner Bros Television, The CW channel, Berlanti Productions and showrunner Eric Wallace issued a joint statement confirming Sawyer would not return for season seven.

"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," they said.

"Such remarks are antithetical to our values and policies, which strive and evolve to promote a safe, inclusive and productive environment for our workforce."

The tweets also contained homophobic language and some discussed violence against women.

'Really horrible attempts to get attention'

In an apology on Instagram, Sawyer said he was "ashamed" even though his comments had been made in jest.

"My words, irrelevant of being meant with an intent of humour, 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 said.

"This was not acceptable behaviour. 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 tweeted a separate personal statement saying Sawyer's tweets "broke my heart and made me mad as hell. And they're indicative of the larger problem in our country".

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Lead actor Grant Gustin reposted Wallace's statement and added: "I will say I was shocked, saddened and angry when I saw the tweets. Words matter."

The Flash has been nominated for a string of Teen Choice Awards, People's Choice Awards and Kids' Choice Awards over the years.

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