TheRoot.com, By Alexandra Jane, Posted July 25nd 2022
In today’s world where there are more calls than ever to see more Black women casted in roles for sci fi and superhero projects, the on screen representation might be up, but so is the racism on the set. In the case of Candice Patton who plays the lead female character in CW’s The Flash, the experience behind the scenes, as well as the response from fans, has been less than stellar.
Earlier this month, Patton appeared on an episode of The Open Up Podcast, where she, well…opened up.
“In 2014, there were no support systems,” the actor recalled. She expressed that “it was not easy” being casted as one of the first Black women actors in the made for tv DC universe. “No one was looking out for that. It was just free range to get abused every single day.”
And contrary to what the media may have you believing about what it looks and feels like to be a “first,” Patton recounts the fact that it’s not nearly as full of praise as it seems.
“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,” the 34 year old continued. “Now, people understand a little better and they understand how fans can be racist, especially in genre, and misogynistic. But at the time it was kind of like: ‘Yeah that’s how fans are, but whatever.’”
Patton says that while she dealt with racist remarks from fans online, she allegedly received no support from the network. The actor also shared that the hate began as soon as she was casted as the love interest of The Flash, portrayed by Barry Allen.
“I wanted to leave the show as early as season two,” she revealed to podcast host Elliot Knight. “I remember being like: ‘I can’t do this, I’m not gonna make it through, I’m severely unhappy.’It was more about the protocols in place and the things I see happening for my white counterpart that’s not happening to me.”
The Mississippi native expounded by saying:
“Seeing how I was treated differently than other people. Seeing how I’m not protected by the network and the studio. Those were the things that not necessarily hurt me but frustrated me. … With the companies I was working with like CW and Warner Brothers, that [‘whatever’] was their way of handling it. I think we know better now that it’s not okay to treat your talent that way and to let them go through this abuse and harassment.”
The aforementioned insults towards Black women in “otherworldly” roles by racist superfans have prevailed throughout the last decade and beyond. In 2018, Amandla Stenberg reflected on the harassment she endured when she was casted as young Rue in The Hunger Games, a character that would meet her end early on, much to the satisfaction of white internet trolls.
The actor told Buzzfeed that back then (as there is now) “…there was resistance to having black girls in films, and that black women are dehumanized and their lives are seen as less valuable than white lives.”
As for Patton, the actor recently wrapped Season 8 of The Flash, and hopes that “everyone enjoyed the season overall!”