The CW Did Nothing About Abuse

Candice Patton

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Candice Patton, who plays Iris West-Allen on the TV show The Flash, said she was treated poorly by viewers online when her character premiered on the show in 2014 and that both the CW network and Warner Bros. did nothing to stem the “abuse and harassment.”

Patton appeared on The Open Up Podcast with Elliot Knight, according to Vulture, and said when she was cast on the show, she experienced an unprecedented amount of racist and misogynistic comments about playing the lead in a superhero show as a black woman.

“It was just free range to get abused every single day,” she said. “There were no social-media protocols in place to protect me. They just let all that stuff sit there.”

The network, she said, had never had a Black woman as a lead on that type of show before, so the vitriol was particularly intense. They put her “in the ocean alone around sharks” and added that “I could get eaten alive out here.”

“I don’t give a f–k what Joe in Indiana thinks ’cause my check just cleared, and it was really big, Joe. You think I f–king care about your tweet? But it’s more so the day-to-day stuff that affects me. The protocols in place, the things that I see happening for my white counterparts — that’s not happening for me.”

There were other issues as well, like how her publicist had to ask for the official The Flash Instagram page to follow her when it followed all the other white actors. There was also an incident with a show stylist who said their only experience with black hair was with “Snoop Dogg, once” and that she should bring her own hair accessories “just in case.”

She also had trouble with the way all the stories were told through a “white lens” and that it was so bad she had trouble watching the show. It was “toxic” to her mental health, she said.

“I think so often about how much better my performances could have been over the last seven years if I wasn’t in a constant state of fight or flight and trauma,” she said. “It doesn’t feel good to watch.”

However, she said, things are better now than they were in the beginning. “I’m coming out of a space of anxiety and depression and moving into a really enlightened place in my life where I feel really hopeful.”

And if she could tell her younger self one thing from those early days, it would be “you earned this” and “you deserve to be here.”

Leave a Comment