It reads like a Hollywood play-write on your television screen. Elite Universities, Celebrities, Cheating, Bribery – the usual. The United States Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts charged 50 people, including everyone’s favorite aunt from the suburbs of San Francisco, California; Ms. Becky from Full House. Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman (of Desperate Housewives) were charged as part of the alleged scheme that dates back to as far as 2011. The allegations go as far as bribing college entrance exam officials to facilitate cheating on college entrance exams and bribing coaches and administrators to designate applicants as recruited athletes, when they had no intentions of being on said team, all to submit tampered applications for admissions that contained false grades, exam-scores, and awards. Reports stated that Laughlin and her husband, fashion designer J. Mossimo Giannulli, alone paid up to $500,000 to get their two children, Olivia Jade and Isabella Giannulli, into the University of Southern California. Woah.
Olivia Jade Giannulli, daughter of Full House star Lori Laughlin, became an internet sensation on Instagram and YouTube, but now fans, and brands she works with, are turning on her. The nineteen-year old was a student at University of Southern California (USC) since the fall of 2018 and was well known as a social media influencer. Just a few days ago she was posting beauty tips and lifestyle vlogs of her life as a college student to her 1.9 million YouTube Subscribers, but she is now facing severe backlash for her parent’s fraud attempt on platforms she used to reign highly over. In particularly with Sephora, who partnered with Giannulli on multiple makeup palettes and paid the influencer to post about their collaboration; it has been confirmed that the beauty company is pulling out on their partnership with Giannulli and removing their collaboration palates with her effectively immediately; “After careful review of recent developments, we have made the decision to end the Sephora Collection partnership with Olivia Jade,” the retailer told Buzzfeed News in a statement. Following Sephora’s announcement, Unilever’s TRESemmé told BuzzFeed News that they have ended their relationship with the teen YouTuber as well, “TRESemmé is no longer working with Olivia Jade Giannulli,” a representative for the hair care company said in a statement.
The criticism hits hardly to the nineteen-year old, due to the idea of income inequality, and the highly unfair advantages wealthy families have against individuals who have worked their whole lives for the 4.0 average or have engulfed their entire high school experience into a sports team- only to have an unfair shot into the admissions of their dream school. Also, it does not swing very favorably for Giannulli after she posted a video on her YouTube channel just days before the admissions scandal, stating she never really wanted to go to college for an academic career and was only interested in the party aspect /“game-day” lifestyle. More of the current criticism addresses the idea that Giannulli wasn’t even focusing on her academic career, rather her life as an influencer. More recently, Jennifer Kay Toy, a parent so outraged with the scandal, filed to sue both Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman for $500 billion in defense of her son whom had a 4.2 GPA all throughout high school and was not accepted into USC.
It is unclear if Giannulli knew she had been accepted into USC under allegedly fraudulent circumstances, but all the attention on her YouTube channel, likely getting a significant form of financial gain from the ads, makes her former fans lash out in anger that she is benefiting to any extent from this scandal. According to People, sources connected to the freshman say she has “no plans to return to USC” following the reveal of the allegations against her parents.
Chan, T. (2019). Sephora And TRESemmé Have Dropped YouTuber And Influencer Olivia Jade Amid The College Admissions Cheating Scandal. [online] Buzzfeednews.com. Available at: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/tanyachen/sephora-has-dropped-olivi…
Friedman, Z. (2019). 30 Fast Facts About The College Admissions Scandal. Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2019/03/18/30-facts-college-ad…
Helling, S. (2019). $500 Billion Lawsuit Against Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman Is ‘Ridiculous’: Legal Expert. [online] PEOPLE.com. Available at: https://people.com/crime/500-billion-lawsuit-against-lori-loughlin-and-f… [Accessed 19 Mar. 2019].