Candice Patton is opening up about her online harassment experience after debuting on The CW series flash.
in with Open PodcastBarton, who has played Iris West on the series since 2014, explained that she wanted to leave the show “as early as season two” because of the flood of harassing messages she received online from fans felt “very unhappy”.
flash The actress explained that signing on to the show and “changing the perception of the superhero genre and creating space for women of color like never before” was “a lot of responsibility” that came with “a lot of attention.” It’s “also a very dangerous place, when you’re one of the first, you get such backlash without any help,” she noted.
“People understand it better now, they understand how fans can be racist, especially in terms of genre, misogyny, all these things, but at the time it was kind of like, ‘That’s what fans are, but whatever,’ “Even the companies I work with, the CW and WB, I think that’s how they handle things. I think we know better now. You can’t treat your talent like that — expose them to abuse and harassment.” “
Patton claimed there was “no support system” at the time and “it was abused every day just free range.”
“There was no social media protocol in place to protect me, they just let all this stuff out there,” she added. “It’s not enough to just make me your heroine and say, ‘Look at us, we’re so progressive, we checked the box.’ That’s fine, but you put me in the sea around sharks all by myself.”
To make a change, Patton emphasized that there must be “people in power who understand my experience and understand the black experience, the experience of a black woman who can say, ‘Okay, she needs protection.'”
“I think any time you hire anyone who belongs to a minority, you have to be prepared to protect them,” Barton explained. “Because in the real world, we’re not protected. Just because you put us on a gorgeous Hollywood TV set or movie set, with hair and makeup, and you think we’re safe, we’re not.”
“It’s like I was pulled over by a white cop in Jackson, Mississippi at 2am. You think he cares that I’m Candice Patton’s flash? That’s okay,” she added. “We still need protection because the world sees us a certain way. When I set foot on set and everyone working around me was white, I wasn’t protected, and I’ll never be. That’s not to say that everyone has bad intentions, but they all have blind spots and it hurts me too. I’m sure it was a learning experience for the company, the company and the production. “
Barton shared that she was also more influenced by “the day-to-day affairs” and “the protocols that were made,” claiming that she was not treated as an equal compared to others. “I remember asking my publicist and I said, ‘You think you can get flash Account following me? ‘” she recalled. “Back when I cared about that shit and wanted to be included. “
Going on to reminisce about her early days on the series, Patton said she remembers feeling very unhappy and recalled feeling, “I’m not going to stick with it.” The actress said she ended up staying not only because contractual obligations, and because her fans “love the character,” she feels “a huge responsibility on her shoulders.”
“It’s such an iconic cast, such an iconic character, and I know what it means to so many people, and I feel a responsibility to stay in a space and a place that could be detrimental to my mental health,” she said . “Stayed, I’ve been through a lot of adversity, I’ve learned a lot. I’m much stronger.”
“Everything’s smoother now,” Barton said, and there’s been more conversation around those issues since. As for her future on the show, flash The star shared that the next season of the CW series will be “probably my last” so she can move on and “break away” from the character identity she’s been “attached to for years.”
“I think part of her needs to die so I can live,” she said.
After the interview, Barton shared her appreciation for the podcast on social media “because it creates a safe space for me to talk about things I never really talk about.”
“My sincerest hope is that the industry will only continue to get better and more inclusive,” she continued. “I am very optimistic about the future. Despite all the trials, I am grateful to be able to stand out on the road and hope to push the needle, even if it is just a millimeter. No one is perfect, including myself, so thank you to all that People with open minds and minds to listen.”
hollywood reporter A CW representative has been contacted flash, CW and Warner Bros. for comment.