The Flash star, Candice Patton was recently on an episode of The Open Up Podcast where the 34-year-old actress shared her trauma. She divulged how a certain section of the show’s fandom used to send her racist flak and hate messages when she starred as Iris West, back in 2014. It was for this reason, that she said that she wanted to leave the series “as early as” Season 2 due to being “severely unhappy”.
The show has been running for 8 seasons now, and the 9th season has been confirmed.
Candice Patton recalls past trauma
The actress made her thoughts and feelings from the traumatic time privy, saying: “I remember being like, ‘I can’t do this. I’m not going to make it through. I don’t want to be here.’ “
Candice Patton also spoke her mind, sharing how she felt that being a Black woman brought a lot more “responsibility” with the role, additionally because of the “backlash” from fans who “can be racist“. On top of that, she claimed that didn’t receive any “help” from others in the workplace.
“At the time, it was kind of like, ‘Yeah, that’s how fans are, but whatever,’ “ the actress said.
She further continued,
“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.”
Patton also shared the changes she wishes to see, “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.’ “
Candice Patton on racism
The actress went on to share her inferences according to the persisting and current racially charged political scenario, “In the real world, we are not protected,” adding: “If I get pulled over at 2 a.m. in Jackson, Mississippi, by a white cop, do you think he gives a s— 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,” Patton said.
“…wanted to be included”
In addition to the hazard to her safety and negligence towards her treatment that she felt, Candice Patton also claimed that the treatment meted out to her was different from her non-Black co-stars. As an example, she shared that initially, she wasn’t even followed by the official Instagram handle of The Flash. She said:
“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.”
Did it for the fans
This is a long list of problems for a single person to endure, but Candice Patton had to stay on due to contractual obligations and because of “a huge responsibility” she felt was on her shoulders. She said, “My fans loved this character.”
She explained her stance, “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.”
Candice Patton has reportedly signed on for the ninth season of the show, making her one of the only original cast members besides Grant Gustin and Danielle Panabaker still on the series.