Candice Patton recalls online harassment by ‘The Flash’ fans – The Hollywood Reporter


Candice Patton recalls online harassment by 'The Flash' fans - The Hollywood Reporter

Candice Patton opens up about her experience of online harassment after making her debut on the CW series The Lightning.

In 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 its second season” because she was feeling “deeply unhappy” amid a torrent of harassing messages from fans.

The Lightning The actress explained that signing up for the show and “changing the way people see the superhero genre and creating spaces for women of color who’ve never had it” is “a huge responsibility” that she has associated with “a lot of attention”. She noted that it’s “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 genres, misogynistic, all that, but back then it was kind of like, ‘That’s the way fans are, but whatever,'” Patton said. “Even with the companies I’ve worked with, The CW and WB, I think that was their way of dealing with it. I think we know better now. It’s not okay to treat your talent like that — to let it get away with abuse and harassment.”

Patton claimed “there were no support systems back then” and “it was just free reign to be abused every day.”

“There were no social media logs to protect me, they just left all that stuff sitting there,” she added. “It’s just not enough to make me your leading lady and say, ‘Look at us, we’re so progressive, we’ve ticked the box.’ It’s great, but you took me into the sea alone near sharks.”

For changes to be made, Patton emphasized that there have 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.'”

“I think every time you hire someone who is from a minority group, 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 a fancy Hollywood TV or movie set with our hair and makeup and assume we’re safe doesn’t mean we’re safe.

“It’s like being pulled over by a white police officer at 2 a.m. in Jackson, Mississippi. You think he doesn’t give a damn that I’m Candice Patton? The Lightning? It doesn’t matter,” she added. “We still need protection because the world sees us a certain way. If I walk onto the set and everyone working around me is white, I am not protected and never will be protected. And that doesn’t mean everyone has bad intentions, but they do have blind spots, and that can also add to my harm. I’m sure it was a learning experience for companies, corporations and productions.”

Patton shared that she was also more affected by the “everyday things” and the “protocols put in place,” claiming that she’s not treated the same compared to others. “I remember asking my publicist, ‘Do you think you could get it? The Lightning account to follow me?’” she recalled. “Back when I cared about that shit and wanted to belong.”

As Patton continued to reflect on her early days as a lead on the show, she recalled feeling very unhappy and recalled feeling, “I’m not going to make it.” The actress said she wasn’t ultimately just because of contractual Commitments remained, but because she felt “a huge responsibility” as her fans “loved that character.”

“It was such an iconic casting, such an iconic role, and I knew how much it meant to so many people that I felt compelled to stay in a place and a place that was probably very toxic to my mental health.” “, she said . “By staying and going through a lot of those adversities, I’ve learned so much. I’m so much harder.”

Patton said everything is “more balanced now” and there have been more conversations on these issues since. As for her future on the show, The Lightning star shared that the next season of the CW series will “probably be my last” so she can “break free” from a character identity she’s held on to “for such a long time.”

“I think part of her has to die in order for me to live,” she said.

After the interview, Patton shared her appreciation for the podcast on social media “because it created a safe space for me to talk about things I’ve never really spoken about.”

“My sincere hope is that the industry keeps getting better and more inclusive,” she continued. “I am deeply optimistic about the future. Despite the trials, I’m so grateful to be separated from the journey and hopefully able to move the needle, even if it’s just a millimeter. Nobody is perfect, myself included, so thank you to everyone who listened with an open heart and mind.”

The Hollywood Reporter reached out to CW’s representatives The Lightning and The CW. Warner Bros. TV had no commentary.

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