While other freshman students who were accepted to the University of Southern through proper procedures were present during the first week of classes last August, social media star Olivia Giannulli, whose parents, actress Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, are now facing five years in prison for allegedly paying $500,000 in bribes to ensure their daughters Isabella and Olivia got into USC, treated herself to a week in Fiji.
According to The Daily Mail, the day after classes began at USC, Olivia Giannulli posted a picture of herself in Fiji; she reportedly stayed there for the entire week of classes.
One post showed her on the beach with fellow YouTube personality Emma Chamberlain, captioned, “’Honeymoon season.” Another post featured her near palm leaves, captioned, “I like you Fiji, I like you a lot.”
The Daily Mail reported, “The trip was funded by shopping app Dote, who flew a number of social media influencers to the island in exchange for promotional posts. In addition to her Instagram snaps, Olivia also filmed a video of her trip which she uploaded when she returned to school.”
Last August Olivia Gianull released a video in which she stated, “I want the experience of game days and partying. I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know.”
Gianulli was reportedly making over a million dollars a year before the scandal hit; but now Sephora and TRESemmé have terminated their association with her.
Giannulli’s parents allegedly portrayed their daughters, Olivia and her older sister Isabella, as recruits to the USC crew team after they figured that for the girls to be recruited as crew coxswains, bribes would have to be paid. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported, “At the time, Olivia Giannulli’s academic qualifications were ‘just below the low end of USC’s admissions standards,’ according to the affidavit. She enrolled at the university in the fall of 2018.”
The Daily Mail explained, “A short time after that, photos were taken of older daughter Isabella on an ergometer. Dr. Donna Heinel, the senior associate athletic director at USC, presented Isabella as a potential athletic recruit a month later and she was approved for conditional admission. It was then asked that a check be sent to Heinel for $50,000 from Giannulli.”
The process enabling Olivia to be accepted to USC was reportedly the same as her older sister’s: a donation of $200,000 was made to the Key Worldwide Foundation, headed by William Singer; a note was sent back averring that no good or services had been exchanged for the money.
But after Olivia was accepted to USC, her high school guidance counselor inquired about her admission since she did not row. Page Six noted that counselor “did not believe that either of the Giannullis’ daughters participated in crew, and was concerned that their applications may have contained misleading information.”
Heinel allegedly left a voice message for Singer saying that if the girls were “questioned at the school that they respond in a[n] appropriate way that they are, walk-on candidates for their respective sports … So I just don’t want anybody going into … [the Giannullis’ daughter’s high school], you know, yelling at counselors. That’ll shut everything — that’ll shut everything down.”
In October 2018, the IRS audited Key Worldwide and began to investigate donations that had been made.