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‘It’s a Dangerous Place’: ‘The Flash’ Star Candice Patton Blasts The CW After She Claims Network Did Nothing to Protect Her from Racist Trolls

Candice Patton of the DC-Universe series “The Flash,” recently shared details about facing harassment and racist attacks online. For the last eight seasons, the actress has starred as Iris West-Allen, the first female lead of the CW series. During an appearance on “The Open Up Podcast” earlier this month, Patton admitted that she took the role to “pay rent,” adding that she wasn’t aware of “all of this stuff comes with it.”

She continued, “And you’re changing the way people view the superhero genre and creating spaces for women of color that have never had that. And it’s a lot of responsibility. It’s a lot of tension. It comes with a lot.”

‘The Flash”s Candice Patton admits The CW did nothing to protect her from online racist online trolls. (Photo: @candicepatton/Instagram.)

The 34-year-old explained she was bombarded with racially charged messages and criticism about her on-screen relationship with her white co-star, Grant Gustin, who plays The Flash. She felt her employers did nothing to protect her against the online backlash.

“It’s a dangerous place to be in when you’re one of the first and you’re facing backlash for it and there’s no help,” she stated during the hour long conversation. “Now people understand a little better and they understand how fans can be racist, especially in the genre, misogynistic, all of that.”

Patton recalled feeling a lack of support from The CW and Warner Bros., stating, “It was kind of like, ‘Yea that’s how fans are but whatever.'”

She continued later, “I think we know better now. It’s not ok to treat your talent that way, to let them go through abuse and harassment. But for me in 2014, there were no support systems. No one was looking out for that. It was just free range to get abuse every single day.”

She said there were no “social media protocols in place to protect me; they just let all that stuff sit there.”

Despite the lack of support, Patton considered leaving “The Flash after season 2 but stayed on to complete her contractual obligations. As she prepares for season 9, which begins filming this summer, she hopes “people in positions of power” now have a better of what it takes to protect the Black female experience.

“We still need protection because the world sees us in a certain way. So when I step onto set and everyone working around me is white … I’m not protected; I will never be protected,” she explained. “And that’s not to say that these people have bad intentions … but they have blind spots. They have a lot of blind spots, and that can also contribute to my harm. It’s been a learning experience, I’m sure, for companies and corporations and productions.”

Fans on social media validated Patton’s claims, confirming that she’s vocally spoken about her experience on “The Flash” for years.

One fan tweeted, “It’s crazy to me that Candice Patton has been speaking about the mistreatment of black women in Hollywood, specifically her mistreatment for yrs & so many people are commenting, “glad she finally spoke up”. Like what? How long does a black woman have to talk before they’re heard?”

A second person tweeted, “Silence from #TheFlash cast is LOUD. It validates everything Candice Patton spoke of about her onset experience.”

Many stand in support of her and “SuperGirl” actress Azie Tesfai, who previously mentioned having a similar experience. A third individual provided “Proof that CW publicists choose to stay quiet when Candice Patton is getting abuse and only spoke up when Azie Tesfai said something. When clowns demand proof for Candice being treated differently well here it is. In the publicists’ own words. She stayed silent in face of hate.”

Along with the tweets were screenshots from conversation between Tesfai and a now-suspended Twitter account in August 2020. The fan claimed that ratings for “The Flash” were “way down” due to Tesfai and other “talent” tweeting their support of Patton’s promo poster for season seven. In her response, Tesfai wrote, “If talking s–t is backing a black lead actress on a series that’s gotten vile hate for years, I feel good about it. Thanks.”

Longtime CW executive Suzanne Gomez also chimed into the conversation. She took accountability for previously staying “quiet” about the online harassment towards black female leads. “I’m the CW publicist for ‘Supergirl’ and ‘The Flash’ and I used to stay quiet about tweets like yours but no more,” Gomez tweeted at the time. “I stand by @AzieTesfai & @candicepatton and agree that this new poster for ‘The Flash’ is incredible. Both women are role models and I applaud their strength & loyalty.”

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