I’m not sure what D.L. Hughley’s problem is with Columbus Short’s estranged wife, Tanee McCall-Short—or, in general, with women who have been subjected to domestic violence—but on a recent episode of his online radio show, the comedian had some raw advice for McCall-Short, who says she was attacked by Short: “Shut the f—k up.”
Excuse me, D.L.?
That’s pretty cold, to say the least, considering that she’s the mother of Short’s children, and he’s alleged to have held a knife to her throat.
Earlier this month, news broke that McCall-Short had filed for divorce and obtained a restraining order, saying that Short had threatened to kill her, and himself, during an argument. Although McCall-Short did not go public with the allegations, TMZ obtained the couple’s court documents and broke the story on its website.
Once the article was picked up by news outlets worldwide, everyone was talking about Short’s behavior—which reportedly included a bar fight in March, punching a man out during a pickup basketball game, and prior domestic incidents with his wife. After Short called in to the Tom Joyner Morning Show April 18 and gave a “bizarre” interview—and dropped the n-word—he was let go from his coveted Scandal gig.
It’s been a rough couple of months for the actor, but according to Hughley, Short’s estranged wife—whom he described as a “thirsty bitch” and a “ho”—should have kept her mouth shut about the alleged violence because going public was against her financial interests.
“I think that broad shouldn’t be telling all his business if she gone take him to court,” Hughley man-splained.
“Columbus is making a ton of money, right?” he asked his co-hosts. “And this woman is obviously used to a lifestyle, right? And she’s going to want to continue that lifestyle, right? Running her mouth is impacting that lifestyle.”
Hughley’s female co-host, Jasmine Sanders, pushed back against his egregious comments to ask the comedian how he would feel if Short had actually killed his wife, which, for women suffering from domestic abuse, is a very real concern.
In response, Hughley said that had Short killed his wife (although he doubts the violent incident happened at all), he’d talk about how horrible the actor was, but he chalked up McCall-Short’s allegations to a stupid “emotional reaction.”
Sanders, the lone woman on Hughley’s show, reminded him that there were witnesses to the couple’s domestic dispute, which included Short’s own personal assistant, but Hughley brushed off Sanders’ words, saying, “Then his assistant is a chick.” I guess, in his mind, only women should speak out against domestic violence.
The conversation devolved from there. Hughley asserted that McCall-Short should have just filed for divorce under irreconcilable differences instead of “running her mouth” and possibly getting Short kicked off the show (a prediction that came true last week). Then he went on to suggest that he'd have doubts about any story involving an actor on a hit show who “chokes the f—k out of his wife,” but if it happened, McCall-Short was just being “melodramatic.”
“Women always running out the mouth when they shouldn’t,” Hughley surmised.
Yes, exactly, D.L. Like when your drunk, enraged husband apparently has a knife to your throat. Wrong time.
The comedian, who once said that black women were the angriest women in the world, went on to downplay the seriousness of the issue and blame McCall-Short for her husband’s alleged behavior:
When you’re very young, you’re very volatile. I’ve been in situations where the police were called. I don’t believe that every time someone says something in the heat of anger, they actually mean it. Everybody want a thug dude, a passionate dude, until you gotta live with your mother in an undisclosed location. You know what kind of dude you picked. Stop it.
The whole rant was bizarre, offensive and problematic. Hughley’s off-base, caveman comments are the exact reason so many women stay silent about domestic abuse and end up being victimized by their partners—including, yep, even the famous ones. Everyone’s innocent until proved guilty, and that goes for Columbus Short, too. But Hughley mocking McCall-Short for reporting domestic abuse isn’t helping anyone.
He might be a comedian, but this is no laughing matter.
Britni Danielle is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and novelist. She has covered pop culture, politics and race for outlets such as Essence, Jet and Clutch. Follow her on Twitter.