While Candice Patton has starred in all eight seasons of The CW’s as Iris West-Allen The Lightningshe wasn’t always happy with her experience on set.
“In 2014 there were no support systems,” Patton, 34, recalled during an appearance on “The Open Up Podcast” earlier this month, claiming that being one of the first black actresses in the DC television universe was “not easy”. “No one paid any attention to that. It was just a free hand to be abused every day.”
She continued: “It’s a dangerous place when you’re one of the first and you face a backlash and there’s no help. Now people understand a little bit better and they understand how fans can be racist, especially in genres, and misogynistic. But back then it was kind of like, ‘Yeah, that’s what fans are like, but whatever.’”
After allegedly dealing with rampant racism regarding her casting as the love interest of Barry Allen / The Flash (Grant Gustin), the Game Alum also felt a lack of support from their employers. (CW and Warner Bros. have yet to publicly address their claims.)
“I wanted to leave the show by season two. I remember thinking, ‘I can’t do this, I’m not going to make it, I’m very unlucky,'” she claimed to the podcast host Eliot Knight. “It was more about the protocols in place and the things I see for my white counterpart that aren’t happening to me.”
Patton further claimed, “To see how I was treated differently than other people. To see how I’m not protected by the network and the studio. Those were the things that didn’t necessarily hurt me, but frustrated me. … With the companies I’ve worked with, like the CW and Warner Brothers, that [‘whatever’] was her way of dealing with it. I think we know better now that it’s not okay to treat your talent like that and let it go through this abuse and harassment.”
Her character was a constant presence on the Arrowverse show after it premiered in 2014, where she eventually falls in love with Barry before having daughter Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) and son Bart (Jordan Fischer) in flash-forward sequences. The show, which aired its season eight finale in June, saw Iris notably absent for four straight episodes last season when she suffered from “time sickness” and disappeared into the Still Force.
“My s8 contract was designed by me & my team to cover me in the event that the borders between Canada and the US are closed again [due to COVID-19 restrictions]Patton addressed her absence in a July 1 Instagram Story post, referring to the show’s Canadian filming location. “My team and I made it clear at the time of negotiation/signing and throughout the season that should the coronavirus and border situation remain optimistic in summer/autumn 2021 (and it was clear early on that this would be the case), I will do so would be the case). I’m happy to be seen in all episodes.”
The Mississippi native added at the time, “That option was ultimately not exercised and we respected that decision! I hope this clears things up and I really hope everyone enjoyed the season as a whole!”