Just when Scandal fans thought they'd said goodbye to their beloved show for the season, they received an unexpected opportunity to revel in the drama of their favorite primetime TV soap opera—for all the wrong reasons. On Friday night, ABC announced the departure of series regular Columbus Short. It was one of the few Scandal plot twists that viewers saw coming.
On the season three finale of Scandal, Short’s character, Harrison Wright, was shown facing the business end of a gun just after receiving a tongue lashing from the show’s father figure, Eli Pope, who acknowledged he was “young, gifted and black” and wasting his talent. The sentiment seemed to apply to the character Short played as much as it did to the man himself.
Short had been unraveling in recent weeks. He was arrested in March--his second time—after a bar fight. In early April, his wife filed a restraining order against him after he allegedly held her at knifepoint, then threatened to kill her and himself. It was his third allegation of domestic abuse. Then came a bizarre radio interview on Tom Joyner where he dropped the infamous N-bomb.
Short released a brief statement about his exit: "At this time, I must confirm my exit from a show I've called home for 3 years, with what is the most talented ensemble in television history."
On social media, fans assumed Harrison had been murdered in cold blood and responded with the hashtag “RIP Harrison.” Scandal fanatic and humor writer Luvvie Ajayi, who become popular for live-tweeting the show each week, created a mock-program for the character’s funeral service that quickly became popular on Facebook and Instagram. Others wondered openly if ABC and show creator Shonda Rhimes had jumped the gun by releasing Short amid only allegations of domestic violence.
Domestic violence is no joke, even if it’s often treated like one. Some would say the alleged events of his personal life shouldn’t have an affect on his career but it’s also quite possible that as the co-star of a hit network show fueled by corporate dollars, he could be dismissed for bad behavior—or strong allegations of such. And let’s be real, the guy who, in just one month’s time, is accused of battering his wife and also gets into a bar fight has some issues.
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