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In light of news that "Full House" actress Lori Laughlin is one of 50 people who have been implicated in a massive college bribery scheme, comments that one of her daughters made about higher education last year have reemerged and are being examined in a new light.
Police have charged Loughlin and actress Felicity Huffman, along with 48 other parents, coaches, and administrators, for allegedly participating in a complex college admissions scheme, wherein parents would pay thousands to insure that their children were accepted into highly sought-after schools like Yale, Stanford, and Georgetown, among others, according to federal prosecutors.
William Rick Singer, the founder of a college prep business, is alleged to have used a fake charity to accept monetary bribes that parents paid him in exchange for helping their children get into college, either by cheating on their SATs or by creating fake online athletic profiles so the children could potentially be recruited as student athletes, NBC News reports.
Loughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, are alleged to have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose, into the University of Southern California, according to a newly released affidavit.
“[Loughlin and Giannuli] agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC,” it reads.
But despite the laws Loughlin and Giannuli are believed to have broken in an effort to get their daughters into college, at least one — their younger daughter, Olivia Jade Giannulli — seemed uninterested in higher education, judging by past social media posts and interviews.
Olivia Jade, a 19-year-old student who started school at the University of Southern California last fall, is a social media influencer with millions of subscribers to her YouTube and Instagram accounts. But in one YouTube video about “boys, college, youtubers” published in August, Olivia Jade remarked that she “[doesn’t] really care about school.”
“I don’t know how much of school I’m gonna attend,” she said, after citing "work" as the chief reason her schedule may be complicated. “But I’m gonna go in and talk to my deans and everyone, and hope that I can try and balance it all. But I do want the experience of like, game days, partying. I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know.”
Her comments on higher education incited backlash, prompting her to publish an apology video days later where she said that her statements were “super ignorant and stupid, basically.”
“It totally came across that I’m ungrateful for college — I’m going to a really nice school — and it just kind of made it seem like I don’t care, I just want to brush it off. I’m just gonna be successful on YouTube and not have to worry about school. I watch it back and I read the comments and I’m just really disappointed in myself,” she said.
She made similar statements regarding higher education earlier this year, saying during an interview with the “Zach Sang Show” podcast that she went to school “mostly because my parents really wanted me to go” but that she was grateful that they did. She also tweeted last month that YouTube will “always be [her] #1 passion,” although school is “also super important.”
Olivia Jade has also published a number of sponsored posts related to her life as a student, according to The New York Times, which cited Instagram posts plugging Amazon Prime and Smile Direct Club. But a glimpse at the comments section of one such post show commenters calling her a “fraud” and asking her what her “real” SAT score is.
It is unclear what specific repercussions the defendants may be facing, but Huffman, Loughlin, and Giannulli were all recorded having conversations about the scheme with a cooperating witness working with authorities, CNN reports. Huffman and Giannulli have both already been arrested, having been taken into custody at their homes; Loughlin was not home at the time her arrest warrant was served, but is expected to surrender to authorities within the day.
Huffman and her husband, actor William H. Macy, are accused of making a “charitable contribution” to the tune of $15,000 to “participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter,” the affidavit states. Investigators claim Huffman later sought to pursue a similar process on behalf of her younger daughter, but ultimately decided against it.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Andrew Lelling, the US attorney for Massachusetts, did not implicate any students, instead pointing to the parents and the others who have been charged in the scheme as “the prime movers of this fraud,” according to CNN.
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