Now that Lori Loughlin is serving out her sentence for her participation in the infamous college admissions scandal, her daughter, Olivia Jade Giannulli, has publicly opened up about her experience during the whole ordeal.
Appearing on “Red Table Talk” hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris, Olivia Jade said that she now wants to seek redemption after coming to fully understand the hurt her parents’ actions caused.
“It’s been hard, I think, for anybody,” she said, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter (THR). “No matter what the situation is, you don’t want to see your parents go to prison. But I think it’s necessary for us to move on and move forward.”
Earlier this year, Loughlin and her husband entered not guilty pleas after being charged with mail fraud and money laundering conspiracy in the infamous college bribery scam. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston charged them with “conspiring to commit fraud and money laundering in connection with a scheme to use bribery to cheat on college entrance exams and to facilitate their children’s admission to selective colleges and universities as purported athletic recruits.” Loughlin and Giannulli worked in concert with William “Rick” Singer to bribe college officials and rig the entrance exams so that their daughters could be accepted into elite universities.
After fighting and maintaining her innocence for close to a year, Loughlin and her husband accepted a plea deal requiring her to pay $150,000 and serve two months in prison. Giannulli was fined $250,000 and sentenced to five months in prison.
“I think that what hasn’t been super public is that there is no justifying or excusing what happened because what happened was wrong,” Olivia said on “Red Table Talk.” And I think every single person in my family can be like, ‘That was messed up. That was a big mistake.’ But I think what’s so important to me is to learn from the mistake, not to now be shamed and punished and never given a second chance because I’m 21. I feel like I deserve a second chance to redeem myself, to show I’ve grown.”
The conversation took a sharper turn when Olivia Jade explained that her white privilege shielded her from understanding the weight of her situation.
“I understand that just based on my skin color I already had my foot in the door and I was already ahead of everybody else. Right. I think that 100%. I can recognize that going forward,” she said.
Olivia Jade then asserted that she will use her privilege for good going forward.
“I just want to make it very clear I’m very aware there are big problems going on in the world that are outside my bubble,” she said. “But how much better of a person would you be if you used your blessings to help somebody else?”
As noted THR, co-host Adrienne Banfield Norris was a bit uneasy about Olivia Jade joining the show.
“I just found it really ironic that she chose three Black women to reach out to for her redemption story. I feel like, here we are, white women coming to Black women for support when we don’t get the same from them,” she said. “Her being here is the epitome of white privilege to me. It’s not our responsibility to raise her consciousness.”