Actor Columbus Short Violates Probation With Failed Drug Test

By McCarton Ackerman 04/29/16

The 33-year-old actor has been ordered to appear at a May 9 hearing to address the violation in his felony assault case.

Actor Columbus Short Violates Probation With Failed Drug Test
Photo viaHelga Esteb/Shutterstock

The former Scandal star Columbus Short has found himself in a scandal of his own. The actor reportedly violated his probation by testing positive for marijuana and cocaine in a random drug test, and must now appear before a hearing in May to address it. 

Short pleaded no contest last September to felony assault after punching a man during a March 2014 family gathering, which knocked the man unconscious and left him with a concussion and fractured eye socket. Short was sentenced to three years of supervised probation, and two months of community labor and anger management counseling. According to his attorney, he completed anger management but has yet to fulfill the community labor requirement of his sentence.

The actor has previously acknowledged that his drug use was the reason he was dropped from Scandal in April 2014. Short was released after a string of bad behavior that year that included his arrest for assault, as well as misdemeanor spousal battery—shortly after which his wife, Tanee McCall-Short, filed for divorce. In December of that tumultuous year, Short revealed that Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes removed him from the show in the hopes it would be a wake-up call.

"I had a lot on my plate, and you know, I was using unhealthy ways to kind of self-medicate and deal with a lot of heavy duty stuff in my life," he told Access Hollywood Live at the time. "I was doing cocaine and drinking a lot, and trying to balance a 16-hour work schedule a day, and a family, and I just lost myself back then." He said his divorce and the suicide of his best friend further fueled his addiction.

Rhimes and his Scandal costars tried to help, but ultimately, he had to be let go. "They protected me and they held me down. And that was one of the real reasons—they just wanted me to get my stuff together," he told Access Hollywood Live. "Sometimes the bottom has to be dropped out for you to really get it." He credited moving to Atlanta and beginning to focus on music with straightening his life out, and even spoke about a possible return to the show.

"I think when anybody's dealing with drugs or alcohol, you need to change your environment, period," he said. "I'm on the number one show on television, anything I wanted I could get it, but that's deadly." At the time of the 2014 interview, Short said he was "really ready to get back to work." 

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.