Actress Candice Patton, popularly known for her role as Iris West in “The Flash,” recently shared some of her experiences as the black female lead of such a big show. She spoke about how she navigated depression and racism that was so bad it pushed her “so down [she had] no place left to go but up.”
Patton also discussed how she had to endure harassment from racist fans and received very little help and support from Warner Bros. and The CW. Despite the treatment, Patton stuck with the show, developed her career a lot, and has repeatedly proven that she is truly one very talented actress.
Read on to find out more.
Candice Patton Is The Show’s Female Lead
In “The Flash,” Patton’s character is Iris West, a journalist who later gains superpowers and works alongside Barry Allen, aka Flash, to fight villains and protect the city. Patton is the show’s female lead, a position that didn’t sit well with many fans of the DC comic.
After the show premiered in 2014, many of these fans attacked Patton, spewing endless racially charged criticism and insults. On the The Open Up podcast’s debut episode, the 34-year-old actress discussed many of her experiences on the show since its premiere.
She first revealed that she took the role because she was curious about the part and needed to “pay rent” and other bills. However, she said she soon discovered “all this stuff that comes with it. And you’re changing how people view the superhero genre and creating spaces for women of color who have never had that. And it’s a lot of responsibility. It’s a lot of tension. It comes with a lot.
She Had To Fend For Herself
During the episode, Patton also said, “It’s also a very dangerous place to be in when you’re one of the first, and you’re receiving so much backlash from it. And there is no help. Now, people understand it a little better. And they understand how fans can be racist, especially in the genre, misogynistic, all of that.”
The “The Game” actress also spoke about the response of The CW and Warner Bros to the racist treatment and online harassment from fans. She said, “It was kind of like, ‘Yeah, that’s how fans are, but whatever.’ There were no social media protocols in place to protect me. They just let all that stuff sit there.”
She Said The Studios Didn’t Do Enough
Patton also said, “It’s just not enough to make me your lead female and say, ‘Look at us, we’re so progressive, we check the box,’… It’s great, but it’s like you’ve put me in the ocean alone, around sharks.”
“It’s great to be in the ocean, but I could get eaten alive out here,” she continued, “Just because you put us in a fancy Hollywood TV set or film set with the hair and makeup and you assume we’re safe. We’re not safe.”
Patton also revealed that the harassment and abuse got so bad that by the second season, she was considering leaving the role and series completely. Thankfully, she chose to stay and is still a part of “The Flash” as it starts filming its ninth season later this year.
Candice Patton Has Proven Herself As A Talented Actress
Patton has severally proven that she is a dynamic and extremely talented actress. For her work on “The Flash,” Patton has earned three nominations for the Teen Choice Awards, and in 2017, she won a Saturn Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress.
Aside from “The Flash,” she has also acted in shows such as “The Game,” “About a Boy,” “Legends of Tomorrow,” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Patton is also a very passionate supporter of racial justice in America and the world and uses her platform to speak out against racism.
The actress also works with the WILD ELEMENTS foundation and just recently co-directed her first project. She has also stated several times that she is very excited to use her talents and expertise in the conservation space and make more people aware of environmental justice issues.
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