The Flash Star Wanted To Quit Because Of Harassment

One of the stars from The Flash has recently admitted that they were ready to quit the series based on harassment that they were receiving.

By Vic Medina | Published

Grant Gustin

Candice Patton, best known for playing Iris West on the CW DC Comics series The Flash, has revealed that harassment from online trolls nearly forced her to quit the show. Patton has appeared in all 172 episodes of the popular series, which returns for a ninth season in 2023. In an interview with The Open Up Podcast, however, she says online attacks from so-called fans of the show have been relentless since she joined the show. She also says that both DC and the WB were initially dismissive of the harassment and online abuse, which was often sexist and racist.

During the podcast interview with Elliot Knight, Patton revealed that she has not publicly spoken about the harassment she has endured online, which she says began with her casting in 2014 and her appearance in the pilot. The Iris West character in the DC comics has always been a white, red-headed woman, but The Flash producer Greg Berlanti changed the character’s race to have a more diverse cast, as she played the love interest to Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen. The practice of race-swapping long-established characters has not gone unnoticed by fans, who jokingly keep track of the trend – there is even a running list of redheads who have been race-swapped for TV and film.

Some online trolls, however, have used Patton’s casting as an excuse to harass her, which nearly forced her to quit the show during season two, saying she was “severely unhappy” in her role. Patton said The Flash set was “a very dangerous place to be in when you’re one of the first and you’re receiving so much backlash from it and there is no help,” singling out how her bosses didn’t seem to take the harassment seriously. She also claims that the studio would treat white actors differently and she would get no support from them. including having to request that The Flash Twitter account follow her personal account. Neither DC nor The CW responded to requests for comment from The Hollywood Reporter.

Patton said she originally signed on to The Flash cast because she thought doing so would change “the way people view the superhero genre and creating spaces for women of color that have never had that.” The trolls – on Twitter in particular – were particularly toxic, she says, but she stayed on for nine seasons now. She says initially, she used the money she was making as a shield against the criticism but says the CW and The WB have gotten better at supporting her. “Now people understand it a little better and they understand how fans can be racist, especially in genre, misogynistic all of that,” she said. “I think we know better now. It’s not OK to treat your talent that way — to let them go through abuse and harassment.” That seemed to be the case in 2020, when actor Hartley Sawyer, who played Elongated Man, was fired after a number of racist and sexist tweets from his past resurfaced.

While Patton has become a key member of The Flash cast, she did reveal that the next season of the show, the ninth, would likely be her last. She said it is time to move on professionally and “break free” from the Iris West character. In addition to The Flash, Patton has appeared on all of the other DC shows on the CW’s Arrowverse (the name given to all the connected DC shows), including Arrow (the show it initially spun off of), Batwoman, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl. With its eighth season, The Flash passed Arrow as the longest-running DC show in the Arrowverse. It remains popular with fans, even as other Arrowverse shows falter, and even as major cast members leave the show.

Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Patton was raised in the affluent Dallas suburb of Plano and graduated from SMU before entering acting with a role on The Young and the Restless in 2004. She has also appeared on Castle, One Tree Hill, Heroes, Grey’s Anatomy, and CSI: Miami. She had recurring roles on The Game and Entourage before joining the cast of The Flash.