Candice Patton is best recognized for her portrayal of Iris West-Allen on The Flash, but she almost left her long-running part early. Her role earned her a Saturn Award out of four nominations, but it wasn’t fun all the time. Patton recently claimed that during her time on The Flash, she received racially hostile remarks from viewers the entire time.
Patton opened up about her early days on The Flash. The actress claimed on a recent episode of The Open Up Podcast that she wanted to quit the series “as early as” season 2 because she was “severely unhappy.” She recalled receiving racially charged messages from fans online after debuting as Iris West in 2014.
“I remember being like, ‘I can’t do this. I’m not going to make it through. I don’t want to be here.'”
She stated that the job comes with a lot of “responsibility” as a Black woman. She also admitted to receiving “backlash” from followers who “can be racist.” She stated that she did not receive “help” from anyone at work.
“At the time, it was kind of like, ‘Yeah, that’s how fans are, but whatever.'”
“Even with the companies I was working with — CW, Warner Bros. — I think that was their way of handling it. 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 abused every single day.”
“There were no social media protocols in place to protect me; they just let all that stuff sit there.”
“There has to be people in positions of power who understand my experience and understand the Black experience, the Black female experience who can say, ‘OK, she needs protection.'”
“In the real world, we are not protected. If I get pulled over at 2 a.m. in Jackson, Mississippi, by a white cop, do you think he gives a sh*t that I’m Candice Patton from The Flash? It doesn’t matter.”
“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. 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.”
In addition to a lack of protection, the actress alleged that she was not treated equally with her non-Black coworkers. In the episode, she claimed that she was not initially followed on Instagram by the official Flash account. Despite her lack of support, the actress stated that she stayed due to contractual obligations and a “huge responsibility,” adding, “My fans loved this character.”
“I remember asking my publicist, I was like, ‘Do you think you could get The Flash account to follow me?’ Back when I cared about that s— and wanted to be included.”
“It was such an iconic casting, such an iconic role, and I knew how much this meant to so many people that I felt a responsibility to stay in a space and a place that was probably very toxic for my mental health.”
Patton recently signed up for the ninth season of the show. Along with Grant Gustin and Danielle Panabaker, she is one of the few original cast members still on the show. Jesse L. Martin said in April that he will be leaving his role as a series regular.
We will have to see what’s next for her, but she is very brave for coming forward with this account. To get the latest updates, keep an eye on Thirsty.
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