The New McCarthyism Of The Left And The Destruction Of Hartley Sawyer

Hartley Sawyer is, or was, a Hollywood actor. 35 years old with many credits, he had hit the big time, and big money, with a regular role on the CW series “The Flash.” He played the superhero “The Elongated Man.” Today he’s unemployed, and likely to remain so. He was fired from the series yesterday.

Was he hard to work with? No. Did he harass cast members? No.  Did he come to the set drunk, or masturbate in front of  female crew members, or attack a writer, like Thomas Gibson did on “Criminal Minds”?  No, no and no. Sawyer wasn’t fired for doing anything illegal, disruptive or even recent. He was fired because someone searched his social media record, and released tweets he made between 2009 and 2014. All the stories about his firing reference “racist tweets,” but the only ones published have been…

  •  “The only thing keeping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me.”
  • “Enjoyed a secret boob viewing at an audition today.”
  • “Date rape myself so I don’t have to masturbate.”

The first isn’t racist, or even legitimately offensive. To claim the second would be taboo in Hollywood is so ridiculous it boggles the mind. The third, described in various accounts as being about sexual assault, is an obvious joke. Saying you “date rape” yourself is not advocating sexual assault.

Never mind. In the crazed grip of George Floyd mania, people with empty lives and cruel dispositions are itching to show their power to destroy others by crying “Witch!,” knowing that most of those in authority, any authority, lack backbone, integrity or a working knowledge of the Golden Rule.

Hartley Sawyer groveled an apology on Instagram, saying in part,

“My words, irrelevant of being meant with an intent of humor, were hurtful, and unacceptable. I am ashamed I was capable of these really horrible attempts to get attention at that time. I regret them deeply. This was not acceptable behavior. These were words I threw out at the time with no thought or recognition of the harm my words could do, and now have done today.”

Big mistake. He should have said,

“I’m not going to apologize for silly tweets I made years ago because they weren’t intended to do any harm and didn’t do any harm. How I chose at the time to banter with friends who knew me and could tell when I was being intentionally ironic or outrageous is no reflection on me as a professional, a colleague, a friend, a citizen or a human being today, but those who would attempt to harm my career and reputation based on those tweets is a reflection on them, and an ugly one.  I will not enable the wave of social bullying and mandated thought control currently poisoning the nation by  capitulating to it. I choose to be judged on my conduct now, not based on casual words typed in haste many years ago.”

That would have at least sparked a productive discussion, and earned respect from people who are worth  being respected by. Now all he has is pity.

“Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for season seven of The Flash,” reads a statement from The CW, producers Warner Bros. TV and Berlanti Productions and executive producer Eric Wallace. “In regards to Mr. Sawyer’s posts on social media, we do not tolerate derogatory remarks that target any race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation. Such remarks are antithetical to our values and polices, which strive and evolve to promote a safe, inclusive and productive environment for our workforce.”

Wallace issued his own grandstanding statement, which the star of  “The Flash” simply published on Instagram under his own name. Gutsy.

Yeah, the tweets are indicative of a problem, the problem being that there is a vicious mob of lock-step ideologues determine to terrorize Americans out of diversity of thought, expression, speech and opinion. Who of sound mind gets “angry” about six year old social media tweets? What does mocking Al Sharpton have to do with “brutalizing” black and brown people? The issue with Al Sharpton isn’t his race, its his hucksterism, his scams, and his occupation as a professional race-baiter and shakedown artist.

My late friend Bob McElwaine, the Hollywood publicist, was a loyal Democrat and liberal who was blacklisted in the Forties.  He was denied work because he had briefly joined a veteran’s organization years earlier that had been falsely labeled as left-wing by conservative elements in the American Legion. Bob was good-natured about his misfortune, but regarded the support Republicans gave to red-baiting efforts by the House Un-American Activities Committee and later by Joe McCarthy as an unforgivable betrayal of American liberty.

I wonder how he’d feel about what has happened to Hartley Sawyer.

I think I know.

***

Addendum: I just read a post on this same topic by conservative writer Jim Treacher. It concludes,

“But this guy is just an actor on a schlocky CW show. What’s the big deal?” That is the big deal. He’s just an actor on a schlocky CW show. He has no power to hurt you unless you let him. A lot of people just let him. So they ruined him because it felt good, and his friends abandoned him to save themselves.

What makes you think the same thing can’t happen to you? Just because you know you didn’t do anything wrong? Just because you know you’re not the person your enemies say you are? Good luck with that one.

Better not mock or criticize the people you’re not supposed to. They’re the victims, and they own you.

Bingo.

 

43 thoughts on “The New McCarthyism Of The Left And The Destruction Of Hartley Sawyer

  1. Today must have been the day. There are a bunch of reality show “celebrities” that went down in flames today as well. And for the same reasons.

    I tried to fight the good fight today on Facebook. I really tried. I was called a racist. After suggesting that if I were a shop owner I was under no obligation to allow someone to steal $20 worth of merchandise, I was told I was “poor of spirit”. I wanted to ask what price point would no longer make me “poor of spirit”, but, alas, I gave up. I honestly don’t know how to argue with self-righteous indignation. How does one even begin?

  2. https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/progressives-eating-their-own/

    This article makes a similar point to Treacher’s regarding even the annointed being subject to the mob. I suspect more than one white progressive has recently put a Black Lives Matter sign in their yard which really means “I’m sorry I’m white – Please don’t destroy my house.” But you can’t satisfy the organism as it is at the moment.

    I was told that I was “showing my privilege” for being extremely upset that my childhood neighborhood and the street that was the heart of my life in Minneapolis, was burned down savagely. This person knows my dad was black.

    No one can be woke enough. No one can have dark enough skin or fancy enough pronouns. You can’t yard sign – bumper sticker- black hoodie/ jeans/mask – tweet – comment – virtue signal enough to satisfy those bent on destruction. If you’re a minority and don’t go along or if you’re white and you don’t genuflect before the “underprivileged” or if you are just a young silly actor, you’re pushed out in some manner.

    In Portland I saw a video of a mob attacking a white man carrying a large American flag. Another white man tried to intervene and was also attacked. When the man was down a 14
    year old ran-kicked him in the mouth. Soon black blockers (with white skin) clad in the color of their hearts picked up the man who now had fewer teeth. They admonished him for trying to help, told him to not get in the way of black people, and said he was lucky they were helping him.

    First they kick you in the teeth and then they fix you up while telling you what you can and can’t do. Even kindness isn’t okay to some of these people. I remain hopeful but I’m done living in these supposed bastions of equality and inclusion.

    • They think that they are literally heroes. They will rob you, beat you, and basically take out all of the frustration of their failed lives on you. And then they will tell you, “and don’t do it again!”

      The perversity of political correctness is it allows inherently bad people to own moral high ground over people much kinder and better than they. Imagine how many sweet grannies, giving spirits, and gentle souls have been cast out and metaphorically spit on by various self-worshipping millennial brats because they hold such outdated ideas as thinking there’s never any excuse to riot, or that marriage is between a man and a woman.

  3. Jack,

    “That would have at least sparked a productive discussion, and earned respect from people who are worth being respected by. Now all he has is pity.”

    Statements like these make it difficult to agree with you at times. You’ve stated, in no uncertain terms, that the respect of anyone who might find those tweets upsetting doesn’t amount to anything. How does spark productive discussion or respect?

    Yes.the rules governing public vs. private life online in those long-ago days was less clear; yes, he was also much less mature at the time; and yes, someone shouldn’t have gone trolling through his Internet history in search of dirt. However, once they come out, the public at large can’t help but interpret them through the lens of everything going on now. The average person won’t have the time or interest to dig into the particulars of the story nor the context in which they appeared; moreover, they were made on a public platform. For a media figure to turn a blind eye to those realities makes them obtuse at best.

    Perhaps he shouldn’t have to apologize, but the statement you offered would only have made his troubles worse. I would’t want to hang out with someone who talks like that, in public or private, and I suspect many others who read them felt the same, That shouldn’t earn him the indelible mark of racism or sexism, but it also lessens his general appeal — which is what this really about.

    Just something to consider; this isn’t my Little Big Horn.

    • Meek capitulation and bending the knee to the Intersectional Inquisition is NOT the answer either. Groveling and apologizing is the worst thing one could possibly do when dealing with ideological zealots-it won’t save you and serves only as an admission of guilt in their eyes.

      Accepting this rise of neo-McCarthyism as just the new norm is not going to make things better, nor will it calm things down, rather such a position will only enable this behavior to continue and grow into something even more severe.

    • Neil
      You just made the argument for defacto segregation when you said you would not want to hang out with someone who makes comments like he did. People have a right to choose where they live and with whom they associate and communicate. I do hope that these episodes are what cause people to dump Twitter and Jack Dorsey. The mere fact that someone dug through years of tweets to find dirt demonstrates a level of hatred for this guy BEFORE those comments were published. What Jack Dorsey et al have created is a means to collect information on you to exploit your weakness later.

      Yet you seem to have no sympathy for him as a victim. You seem to only sympathize with non-white persons that are not heterosexual male. Do you realize that creates a relatively significant minority group in their own right. By assigning blame uniformly on one demographic segment that is itself bigotry. Further, the republishing caused any current harm, not the ones that no one knew about. If I tell you so and so is ugly and you run and tell so and so who inflicted the harm? You did.

      I had to contain my laughter when I thought about the notion that no one you hang out with has ever made a joke or quip at the expense of another. Your pristine life must be rather dull. I find those who claim the mantle of virtue usually have the most to hide. And what of all your minority friends I am sure none have made a spurious charge against whites in general. If one did would you make sure he or she was summarily punished for such transgressions against humanity? Finally, explain to me why Al Sharpton continues to keep his job when he makes generalized claims about whites? The answer is that he owns you as Treacher said unless and will continue his oppressive acts unless you push back.

      • Chris,

        “Yet you seem to have no sympathy for him as a victim. You seem to only sympathize with non-white persons that are not heterosexual male.“

        You made of a lot of assumptions about me and added a lot of words I didn’t bring into the conversation. If you assume I have a hatred towards white, heterosexual males, then you might first examine what you hate about them, considering you assumed hatred towards a group I never even referenced.

        Also, your name isn’t “Jack” making your comment superfluous.

        Good day.

    • Neil said in response to Jack:

      You’ve stated, in no uncertain terms, that the respect of anyone who might find those tweets upsetting doesn’t amount to anything. How does spark productive discussion or respect?

      In the first place, the mob attack on Sawyer and his employment was totally unethical, objectively and without rational dispute. Sawyer’s attempt at a fawning apology doesn’t deserve respect because it was just that, a fawning attempt to avoid career consequences he didn’t deserve to begin with. Nobody unwilling to stand up for what they said and intended, and accept the consequences thereof, deserves respect.

      You may argue, defensibly, that an apology was warranted. I can’t disagree given the “… lens of everything going on right now.” But it’s impossible to respect a person who grovels for a “sin” so incredibly minor and absent context when viewed through any lens at all. That’s just ethics 101. His apology was at best a Level 7, and since when did a Level 7 apology become worthy of anyone’s respect?

      Neil said:

      Perhaps he shouldn’t have to apologize, but the statement you offered would only have made his troubles worse.

      Perhaps you’re right, but it would’ve deserved respect, because he would’ve had the integrity to honestly examine the reality rather than the perception, stand up for his right to speak freely and the right of all Americans to be free of mob tactics, and his just desire to be judged on his present rather than his resurfaced, context-free past.

      Neil said:

      I would’t want to hang out with someone who talks like that, in public or private, and I suspect many others who read them felt the same, That shouldn’t earn him the indelible mark of racism or sexism, but it also lessens his general appeal — which is what this really about.

      But he doesn’t “talk like that,” at least, not now. Are you telling me you’d never hang out with anyone who made a racist or insensitive utterance anytime in his past? If so, I suggest you’ll have no friends, and the ones you will have are liars. Purity tests for past insensitive utterances are beyond unethical.

      Your response is emotional, irrational, and thoughtless on a number of levels. Have you surrendered to the mob as well? You’ve been here as long as I have, I reckon, and while you are often contrarian, you are rarely this milquetoast.

    • Yup. I have no respect for hysterics so desperate to be offended that they get “upset” at what a stranger wrote on his social media account six years ago. If they are going to be offended at that, they might as well check themselves into a mental health facility, because there are millions of idiotic tweets every day that aren’t six years old.

      • Jack,

        You never responded to my comments. I agreed with you, I just suggested your statement was garbage. No public figure who spoke like that would gain “respect”; they’d come off as a woefully unaware of the world in which they lived.

        All I’m saying is don’t quote your day job for a life in PR. Your clients would end up on bread lines.

        • You’re wrong. You’re advocating quivering in fear from the mob. (And I earned a nice living as a PR consultant.) Those who speak the truth are not engaging in “garbage” (nice, by the way). From Galileo onward, those who have agreed to grovel have put civilization at risk.

          I shouldn’t have to point this out, but our current President got to the White House in part by defying conventional wisdom about what you should and should not say about, for example, illegal immigration. If you think people should apologize when they are unjustly maligned, you are siding with cowards.

          And what a weak case on which to make that point! Would Sawyer be any worse off if he was defiant to his cancellers? He would unquestionably be better off—he would be respected for courage and integrity…by me, for a start.

          • And let me add this: I will never apologize to someone today who takes offense at what I said six years ago to someone else. I might admit I was wrong. I might retract it. I might say that upon reflection I was wrong. I might say that my opinion has changed. I might even say that I apologized to some other person. But the presumption that I have to apologize to a third person who was not part of the conversation for a statement, joke or bit of hyperbole intended for others is accepting the chains of prior restraint.

          • “..those who have agreed to grovel have put civilization at risk.”

            I love this. I need to find something (or someone) on which to slap it. And hard.

    • “The average person won’t have the time or interest to dig into the particulars of the story…”

      The average person also won’t have time or interest to give half a crap about what some Z-list actor on a cheeseball TV show wrote on Twitter a decade ago, either. The only people who “care” about such things are the ones who wish to use it to collect a scalp. Sawyer isn’t even the real target here. The real target is everyone watching – this is intended to terrorize everyone else into toeing the line, and never voicing any thought that isn’t in line with the approved group-think. But the approved group-think is constantly shifting, so it’s impossible to ever be on solid footing with these creeps, so why even bother trying to chase that moving target? Half the time, when these incidents pop up, the obligatory groveling apology is posted, and the mob manages to find something they pretend to find “offensive” in the apology itself!

      The cancel culture mob has no interest in seeing Hartley Sawyer change for the better. He’s a means to an end, just like all the others who were cancelled before him. No path to redemption is offered or allowed, so why bother to apologize at all? If you’re going to be wished into the cornfield as an un-person, you might as well at least maintain a little dignity and go into your banishment on two legs instead of being dragged there squealing and crying.

  4. We, as a society, are going to have to figure out whether we’re going to be willing to overlook and gloss over robbing a pregnant woman at gunpoint, or whether we’re going to ruin somebody for making off-color jokes. We can’t do both and stay sane.

    • On the contrary, all we need is the concept of privilege. What you can get away with in society is inversely proportional to how much privilege you have. It’s just like an aristocracy, only inverted. (Not that we don’t also have the regular kind of de facto aristocracy, mind.)

      • Well that’s just bad luck for people like me, seeing as I am basically white but also have grown up with every sort of bad luck you can imagine and currently live just about the most austere life one possibly can without being a charity case. For the past 10 years I have regularly had to check my bank balance before buying gas. I regularly catching myself wishing I was a minority of some kind, for the opportunities it would afford, and so that people would listen to me. But I shrug it off, solely because I so many little things to be thankful for.

        If I had anything to show for my white privilege, and if I lived in the most expensive neighborhood in America like say, Nancy Pelosi, at least I could believe that I should be ashamed of my white privilege while still enjoying my walled-in mansion and fridge full of ice cream. But white privilege apparently looks different for some people. I can’t imagine why poor white people would rally around an egalitarian businessman politician who doesn’t believe any of this tripe.

  5. When will people learn that as soon as you bend the knee to the totalitarian Left, they take all you have — your employment, your lifesyle, your money, your fame if you have it, and frankly your eternal soul. Then they pitch it all into the fire of their hate and laugh while it burns.

    There is no mercy, no forgiveness, no do-overs. If you are not of value to their radical cause, you will be canceled — period. If you are of value, than anything you do is … nuanced to nothingness. This ruthlessness is exactly why they are so effective, and why those who only modestly oppose them get run over by their mob tactics.

    I suppose every great country or republic faces an eventual revolution after they become wealthy and powerful enough. History is replete with examples, so there’s really no need to go there. The only question is, will the United States be the first to resist such events, or will we just go down as another exemplar of the wages of success?

    I really don’t know. I do know that I will never bend my knee to these thugs, no matter what the consequences to me, my family or friends are. We’ll have to see if enough other people feel the same way, or if we’ll eventually decide to consent to permitting the overthrow of the country. It’s pretty clear that the Left is in the minority and that a vast number of citizens and businesses have simply been mau-maued into penning statements of support for the insurgents.

    News I have read today:

    * HBO is taking down Gone With The Wind. They say they will return it with commentary denouncing all the racist things in it, but I’d bet that will be shouted down as well. Look for other networks to follow.

    * Seattle has abandoned an area of their city to Antifa and other radical elements, who have blocked of the streets and set up an “Autonomous zone.”

    * Paramount has cancelled Cops after 32 seasons, not because of ratings, but because of fear.

    * Homicides in Los Angeles are up 250% in the last week.

    * Adidas says 30% of new US hires will be reserved for black or Hispanic applicants only.

    The 1960’s are back, only with the power of social media to assail any heretics with sufficient public exposure. The big question now is, how much longer will we put up with it, and what will happen when the fecal matter inevitably hits the rotary air mover?

    • Fortunately, I have a DVD of Gone With The Wind which, in a few years, will be worth a small fortune. My guess…the Civil War never really happened. Just a bunch of Priviliged Whites getting their butts kicked by the non-slave holding (and you can believe as much of that as you want to) Union troops.

  6. Everytime you hear talk about inclusion, or inclusivity they do not mean including all it simply means building a new group to gain power over another group.

  7. FWIW, I have seen a few more tweets at CNN. It’s from someones twitter, and some of them are a bit worse than what’s been presente. “As a lad, one of my favorite activities was kidnapping homeless people and cutting off their breasts.” I think being offended by that one is a little more understandable. I could see the possibility of missing context (as a stupid snarky reply for someone saying a stupid thing about young men and women’s breasts) but anyone who posts on twitter has no business complaining about being taken out of context IMO. Call it the Twitter Context Estoppel rule. With an exception for tweets with clear indicators of being chained with other tweets, such as numbered tweets.

    • Didn’t see that one: some Twitter account appears to have a monopoly on the full list, and I’ve been waiting for approval to see them. But it doesn’t matter what he tweeted, and the tweet you mention is not “racist.” It’s the alleges racism that got him fired. That tweet is stupid and ugly, but obviously not serious.

      • Oh, I agree. It’s not racist, and I don’t think people should be fired for old tweets. I thought I had that in my post before hitting post.

  8. “My late friend Bob McElwaine, the Hollywood publicist, was a loyal Democrat and liberal who was blacklisted in the Forties. He was denied work because he had briefly joined a veteran’s organization years earlier that had been falsely labeled as left-wing by conservative elements in the American Legion. Bob was good-natured about his misfortune, but regarded the support Republicans gave to red-baiting efforts by the House Un-American Activities Committee and later by Joe McCarthy as an unforgivable betrayal of American liberty.”

    I admit to being confused about what position to take in regard to this. Some say it is true that Communist infiltration of the US was, and perhaps still is, a ‘real thing’. The very nature of Communism, and Marxist subversion, is to break apart the structures that hold a society together. Then, when chaos is created, they assert their power and influence all the more, and this continues until the days when their revolutionary impulses are fully revealed.

    Then on the other side of Communist and Marxist praxis are the socially conservative forces. They usually define themselves by reference to structures that have been established. Hierarchies. And of course the appreciation for and the celebration of past achievement: the history that made the present what it is. Conservative forces often exhibit tendencies to adhere to structure, order and discipline that are described by progressives, and also Marxists, as reactionary and fascist.

    In the 1920s and 1930s there were waves of communist and socialist activism. In a large degree the roots of American Left-Progressivism are found there. I love Waldo Frank but he was, like so many in those circles, an activist for socialist and communist causes. I admire Randolph Bourne for his anti-war position, but I think he was part of the same school.

    These two tendencies are inimical to one another. And if my perception is right we see the same essential struggle being played out today: the social justice warrior is a front-soldier for a more brutal Marxist.

    I suppose there are times when these inimical forces are balanced against each other. Well, then one will tolerate the other. But it seems inevitable that at one point, some unavoidable point, the essential struggle will break out into open conflict. Then it is a question of what side in what will be a a destructive struggle one will take? You will have to choose.

    Was it wrong for forces within the US political system to use governmental power to seek out and expose communist operatives? Was it wrong that the same state police forces were used to infiltrate and weaken the activist organizations of the 1960s? How about the Black Liberation armies that came out of the prisons and were organizing? What is the function of ‘police power’ and what are its limits?

    If the present events — which seem genuinely extraordinary — continue, there may come a day when any one of us will have to choose. Who shall we side with?

    • Sure there were Communists; still are. Bernie. AOC. De Blasio. We don’t ban political parties or ideologies in this country, and “guilt by association” is anathema to American values. What’s not to understand?

      • That is an absurd claim. Not only did the state police pursue, and neutralize Communists and the Communist organizing base in the US it engaged in a world-scale cold and hot war against Communism. A vast war-complex was brought out against it. Billions of dollars — trillions of dollars spent. An entire military establishment set up to combat and defeat it.

        And if there occurs today, or tomorrow, a real threat to the interests of the US (social, economic) the same para-military state police will act in the same way.

        What I do not understand is what I perceive as a profound naïveté on your part. It is as if you do not really understand your own country. What it has done, what it is capable of doing.

        My question is Could this be described as the right course of action when a real enemy is perceived? That is, one that could harm the State or even topple it.

          • I did not speak of any ‘banning’. What I speak about is the employment of State police, national police, to attack and neutralize groups that are perceived as being a danger to the State.

            Fighting Communism internationally has a direct corollary to political police activity in the US. The two intermesh. And then there is para-military force.

  9. Glenn,

    “Your response is emotional, irrational, and thoughtless on a number of levels. Have you surrendered to the mob as well? You’ve been here as long as I have, I reckon, and while you are often contrarian, you are rarely this milquetoast.“

    I don’t know you, you clearly didn’t understand my comments, and your name isn’t Jack. Lastly, I said I agreed with Jack’s point, just not the statement he suggested the actor read.

    You’re arguing with someone who agrees with you,

  10. I’m still looking for the right avenue to deconstruct all of this blind rejection, where everyone can see it. It’s easy enough to take it apart, and present constructive alternatives to what people are doing. The problem is getting enough key people to pay attention.

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