‘Scandal’s’ Kerry Washington Answers Awkward Question About Former Co-Star Columbus Short

PaleyFest 2015: “Everyone who’s in this family is in this family whether you’re in this show or not,” the ABC star tells the audience

abc scandal paleyfest 2015
Cast of ABC's "Scandal" take a group selfie at PaleyFest. (Paley Center)

Kerry Washington and the rest of the “Scandal” cast took to the stage with moderator Jimmy Kimmel for the show’s PaleyFest panel on Sunday and gave super fans some fun tidbits about the series’ behind the scenes.

The panel included Washington (Olivia Pope), who was on the quiet side due to a bout of laryngitis, Tony Goldwyn (Fitzgerald Grant), Katie Lowes (Quinn Perkins), Darby Stanchfield (Abby Whelan), Scott Foley (Jake Ballard), Guillermo Diaz (Huck), Jeff Perry (Cyrus Beene) and Joshua Malina (David Rosen). The only one missing was showrunner Shonda Rhimes, who according to Kimmel was busy “writing 12 shows.”

The event also included questions from audience members, one of whom decided to ask how the cast handled the show’s own “real-life scandal” involving actor Columbus Short and his legal woes earlier this year.

Washington couldn’t have handled the awkward exchange in a classier way.

“The one thing that I would say, just so that it’s clear: Everyone who’s in this family is in this family whether you’re in this show or not. I don’t celebrate the laughter at that question. I understand the question, and thank you for giving us so many viewers and thank you for understanding why we’re not going to answer that.”

The panel also talked about race, particularly when it came to the show’s recent Ferguson-inspired episode.

“It was really important to us that the show is about a woman who is black but also a lot of things,” said Washington. “We have a come to a point where the writers do feel comfortable to address more race… I was very moved that Shonda had a lot of feelings about what’s been going on and her form of protest, her form of expression is to write, and so for all of us to be able to tell this story was such an honor. It was a coming of age for Olivia, but the overriding subtext of the story was so important. It was about lives mattering independent of who you’re born as.”

But other than that, the evening was filled with laugh-out-loud jokes provided by Kimmel and even the cast.

Kimmel read a few tweets about what people would like to do to Tony Goldwyn. One Twitter user said she’d like to lick his hair chest and “play with it.”

We also found out that all that chicken Bellamy Young was eating was in fact made of soy, as the actress is a diehard vegan.

According to the cast, Malina is the show’s designated prankster. When Kimmel asked whether anyone was angry at Malina for his on-set antics, Lowes said, “I tried not talking to him for 24 hours.” To which Malina quipped, “I didn’t notice.”

Asked whether the cast had any favorite lines, Diaz said, “I’m going to peel you like a grape.” Washington preferred her “Bitch Baby” scene with Cyrus.

The audience was then given a rare treat: a video of Lowes as she was first informed she landed the part of Quinn. Lowes was secretly taped as showrunner Rhimes gives her the big news. Lowes can be seen crying with excitement.

“There are no words,” Lowes said about that moment. “My whole life changed.”

There was some debate whether it was true that no one at ABC was allowed to see the show before it aired. Washington said she had heard ABC executives were given a script , ut not a copy of the actual episodes.

Kimmel wanted to know if anyone ever argued with Rhimes about anything. “No!” came the emphatic answer from the cast.

Other interesting revelations: The cast is pretty much kept in the dark, only learning about the new plot lines about a week or two before the rest of us do.

An audience member asked Washington if she could be Rhimes for a day, who would she pick for Olivia?

“I would pick Judy Smith,” said Washington, referring to the real-life inspiration behind her character.