Candice Patton Recalls Online Harassment of ‘The Flash’ Fans – The Hollywood Reporter

Candice Patton opens up about her experience of online harassment after debuting on The CW series The flash.

In a conversation with The Open Up PodcastPatton, who has portrayed Iris West on the show since 2014, explained that she wanted to leave the show “as early as season two” because she felt “seriously unhappy” amid a flurry of harassing messages online from fans .

the flash The actress explained that signing on to the show and “changing the way people view the superhero genre and creating spaces for women of color who have never had that” was “a lot of responsibility” that s accompanied by “a lot of attention”. She noted that it was “also a very dangerous place to be when you’re one of the first and you get so much backlash from it and there’s no help.”

“Now people understand it a little bit better and they understand how fans can be racist, especially in the genre, misogynist, all of that, but back then it was kind of like, ‘That’s how it is. what are the fans, but whatever,'” Patton said. . “Even with the companies I worked with, The CW and WB, I think that was their way of handling things. I think we know better now. It’s not right to treat your talent that way – to leave them to suffer abuse and harassment.

Patton alleged “there were no support systems” at the time and “it was just free to be abused every day”.

“There were no social media protocols in place to protect me, they just left it there,” she added. “It’s just not enough to make me your leading lady and say, ‘Look at us, we’re so progressive, we checked the box. That’s great, but you put me alone in the ocean with sharks.

For change to be made, Patton stressed that there must be “people in positions of power who understand my experience and understand the experience of black people, the experience of black women who can say, ‘Okay, she has need protection “.”

“I think any time you hire a minority person, whoever they are, you have to be prepared to protect them,” Patton explained. “Because in the real world, we are not protected. Just because you put us on some fancy Hollywood TV set or movie set, with hair and makeup on and assume we’re safe, doesn’t mean we’re not safe.

“It’s like getting pulled over at 2 a.m. in Jackson, Mississippi by a white cop. You think he doesn’t care that I’m Candice Patton the flash? It doesn’t matter,” she added. “We still need protection because the world sees us in a certain way. When I get on set and everyone working around me is white, I’m not protected and I never will be. And that doesn’t mean that everyone has bad intentions, but they have blind spots and that can also contribute to my harm. It’s been a learning experience, I’m sure, for businesses, corporations and productions. »

Patton shared that she was also more affected by “everyday things” and “protocols put in place”, alleging that she was not treated the same as others. “I remember asking my publicist, I was like, ‘Do you think you could get the flash account to follow me?’ “, she recalls. “Back when I cared about this shit and wanted to be included.”

While continuing to reflect on her early days on the show, Patton said she recalled feeling very unhappy and recalled feeling, “I’m not going to make it.” The actress said she ultimately stayed on not just because of contractual obligations, but because she felt “a huge responsibility” given that her fans “loved this character.”

“It was such an iconic cast, such an iconic role, and I knew how much it meant to so many people that I felt responsible for staying in a space and a place that was probably very toxic to my mental health,” a- she declared. . “By staying, by going through a lot of that adversity, I’ve learned a lot. I’m so much tougher.

Patton said everything is “more level now” and there have been more conversations around these issues since then. As for his future on the show, the flash The star shared that the next season of the CW series will be “probably my last” so she can move on and “break free” from a character identity she’s been “attached to for so long.”

“I think a part of her has to die so I can live,” she said.

After the interview, Patton shared his appreciation for the podcast on social media “for creating a safe space for me to talk about things I’ve never really talked about.”

“My sincerest hope is that the industry continues to improve and become more inclusive,” she continued. “I am deeply optimistic about the future. Despite the hardships, I’m so grateful to have been part of the journey and to have moved the needle, even if it’s just a millimeter. No one is perfect, myself included, so thank you to everyone who listened with an open heart and mind.

The Hollywood Reporter contacted CW representatives flash, The CW and Warner Bros. for comments.

Comments are closed.