A major scandal hit Scandal this week.
On Wednesday, May 7, Deadline reported that Columbus Short‘s Scandal character, Harrison Wright, would be recast following his departure. The entertainment publication reported receiving a press release, claiming that Eric West (World War Z) would be replacing Short, 31.
Showrunner Shonda Rhimes took to Twitter on Wednesday evening, to shoot down the rumors and call out Deadline for spreading the story.
“I’ve never heard of Eric West,” Rhimes wrote. “Harrison is not being recast EVER. How about reporters CHECK THEIR SOURCES before running with a story?”
She went on to address Deadline specifically, tweeting, “Um, @Deadline? Handle yourself.”
Following the denial from both Rhimes and ABC, Deadline retracted the story and printed an update reading, “Sorry, Scandal fans. In the rush of upfront news, a release purported to be from ABC about an actor named Eric West, whose name had been circulated for weeks, replacing troubled Scandal co-star Columbus Short got to me. It turns out it was an elaborate hoax, which is very unfortunate. Scandal creator said on Twitter that she has never heard of West and there are no plans to recast Short.”
For his part, West tweeted simply, “This is news to me…”
Short’s departure from the Kerry Washington-led show came after the Stomp the Yard actor was arrested in March for a felony battery charge. He was also accused of abuse by his estranged wife Tuere Short, whom he is divorcing.
“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 a statement to Us Weekly last month. “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.”