Columbus Short, star of ABC’s hit show Scandal, will not be returning to appear alongside Kerry Washington this fall, and the announcement comes amidst allegations that the actor beat and threatened to kill his wife.
Short himself confirmed, in a statement obtained by Entertainment Weekly, that he would not be returning to the Shonda Rhimes smash hit when season four begins in the fall, but he made no comment about the allegations against him.
“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 on television today,” Short said in the statement. “I would like to first thank [creator] Shonda Rhimes for the opportunity to work with such an amazing cast. Thank you GLADIATORS, who have supported me throughout my entire career and of course to ABC and Shondaland for allowing me to play such a pivotal role in the Scandal series. I have enjoyed every single minute of it. Everything must come to an end and unfortunately the time has come for Harrison Wright to exit the canvas. I wish nothing but the best for Shonda, Kerry and the rest of the cast, who have become like a second family to me in such a short amount of time. For this, I will forever be grateful.”
The season three finale of the hit drama left many wondering about the fate of Short’s character Harrison Wright, especially since the domestic abuse allegations first made news just days before the season’s closer. While Short didn’t go into specifics as to why he is exiting the high-rated television program, many speculate that his recent troubles may have actually cost him his job.
The 31-year-old actor’s wife Tanee McCall-Short filed for divorce earlier this month and was granted a restraining order against her husband after she says he got drunk, choked her while she was asleep, dragged her around their home, and threatened to kill her by holding a knife to her throat. The woman also filed for full custody of the couple’s two-year-old daughter. Those disturbing allegations came on the heels of reports that Short was arrested for assaulting a man at a bar back in March. The actor now faces a misdemeanor spousal battery charge as well as a felony battery charge for the bar fight and could serve up to four years in jail if found guilty.
“As you all know, lately my personal life has been subjected to a lot of press,” said Short in a past statement, according to CNN. ” As much as I would like to provide my side of events, my counsel has instructed me that a Court of law is the only and proper venue to deal with such matters. Accordingly, I must refrain from making any comments even though that is very difficult for me under the circumstances. Thank you to my fans for your continued support during this difficult time.”
It’s unclear where Scandal will go without Short’s portrayal of fan favorite Harrison Wright once it returns to ABC in the fall, and creator Shonda Rhimes has yet to comment on the actor’s departure or the future of the series.