The entire world was left shook back in March 2019, when actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, were accused of bribing the University of Southern California to get their daughters, Olivia Jade and Bella Giannulli, into the highly acclaimed school. Now, Olivia Jade has spoken out about the college admissions scandal for the first time in a bombshell new interview.
Just months after Loughlin and Giannulli pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges, their daughter sat down with Jada Pinkett Smith on her Red Table Talk show because she wanted to “publicly share her experience for the first time” in a “place that feels really safe.”
What Exactly Happened With Lori Loughlin And Mossimo Giannulli?
The Full House star and her husband allegedly paid $500,000 to get their daughters into the school. According to reports, they arranged for the girls to be recruited by the USC crew team, so that their applications looked better – even though neither of them actually participated in the sport. After agreeing to a plea deal, Giannulli began serving a five-month sentence at the Federal Correctional Complex Lompoc last month. Loughlin, who is serving a two-month prison sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, is scheduled for release in a few weeks.
What Did Olivia Jade Giannulli Say About It In The New Interview?
“It’s been hard for anybody, no matter what the situation is you don’t want to see your parents go to prison. But also, I think it’s necessary for us to move on and move forward,” Olivia Jade told Smith during the interview. “What happened was wrong and I think every single person in my family can look at it and 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 be shamed and punished and never given a second chance… I’m 21. I feel like I deserve a second chance to redeem myself to show I’ve grown.”
The former YouTube star said that while she was applying to colleges, she “wasn’t fully aware of what was going on.” So when the news got out about what her parents had done, she was confused.
“When it first happened I didn’t look at it and say, ‘Oh my God like how dare we do this?’ I was like, ‘Why is everybody complaining? I was confused what we did.’ That’s embarrassing to admit,” she continued. “I think I put a lot of trust into a person that claimed their profession was college counseling and it led me in a wrong direction. It’s not to shift blame it’s just to explain that I wasn’t aware of what was going on.”
Olivia Jade Giannulli Also Spoke Out About Her White Privilege
“I don’t want pity, I don’t deserve pity. We messed up. I just want a second chance be like, ‘I recognize I messed up.’ For so long I wasn’t able to talk about any of this because of the legalities behind it,” Olivia Jade told the talk show host, adding that once she did realize what her parents had done, she didn’t understand why people were “mad” about it. “I didn’t realize at the time, that’s privilege. I didn’t put those two together … I didn’t come on here to try and win people over. I just want to apologize for contributing to these social inequalities even though I didn’t realize it at the time. Being able to come here and recognize that I am aware.”
Now, the young star said that she’s “putting time into” giving back to those less privileged than she is. She explained that she’s been spending her time working with inner city youth, and that she plans to continue working with underprivileged kids going forward.
“I just want to apologize for contributing to these social inequalities, even though I didn’t realize it at the time,” Olivia Jade said. “Being able to come here and recognize that I’m aware.”
Olivia Jade Giannulli Said She Hasn’t Talked To Her Parents Since They Went To Prison
According to the 21-year-old, she hasn’t spoken to her parents at all since they went to prison, but that it’s been “hard” since her mom is her “best friend.”
“I actually haven’t spoken to either of them,” she admitted. “There’s a quarantine phase, just ’cause of COVID … I just haven’t heard anything so I’m just waiting.”
Olivia Jade also explained that after her parents got arrested, she felt “embarrassed,” and “hid herself for three or four months.”
“I never went back [to school]. I was too embarrassed,” she added. “I shouldn’t have been there in the first place, clearly, so there was no point in me trying to go back.”
She Was Previously Accused Of Not Taking School Seriously
After the scandal broke, Olivia Jade came under fire from fans after she was accused of not taking school seriously.
“I don’t know how much of school I’m gonna attend but I’m gonna go in and talk to my deans and everyone, and hope that I can try and balance it all,” she once admitted in an old YouTube video, which was posted back in August 2018. “But I do want the experience of like game days, partying… I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know.”
But in the new interview, she apologized for her past comments, and insisted that school is important to her.
“That sits with me and makes me cringe. It’s embarrassing that I ever said those types of things. There was no malicious intent behind it. I was never trying to hurt anybody or say those things to brag about my life, it’s just that I was oblivious,” she said, adding that she was a good high school student, but that she didn’t deserve to be at USC.
“I wasn’t slacking in high school. I don’t want to discredit myself to the point where I was like I have all this and I also didn’t care. I really did care. I was also a very involved student,” Olivia Jade said.
Adrienne Banfield-Norris Slammed Olivia Jade Giannulli During The Interview
Red Talk Table co-host and Smith’s mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, slammed Olivia Jade during her appearance, and she admitted that she didn’t want the influencer to come on the show at all.
“I fought it tooth and nail,” she explained. “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, [a] white woman coming to Black women for support when we don’t get the same from them. Her being here is the epitome of white privilege to me.”
During the interview, Banfield-Norris told Olivia Jade, “I think for me, it’s like there is so much violent dehumanization that the Black community has to go through on a daily basis. There is so much devastation, particularly this year, 2020, with the pandemic and everything brought to the table about how there is so much inequality and inequity, that when you come to the table with something like this, it’s like, ‘Child, please.'”
“I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted with everything we have to deal with as a community and I just don’t have the energy to put into the fact that you lost your endorsements or you’re not in school right now,” she continued. “Because at the end of the day, you’re going to be OK. Because your parents are going to go in and they’re going to do their 60 days and they’re going to pay their fine, and you guys are going to go on and be OK and you will live your life. And there’s so many of us that it’s not going to be that situation. It just makes it very difficult right now for me to care in this atmosphere that we’re in right now. A year from now I might feel differently, but right now in the atmosphere that the world is in it’s very difficult for me to feel compassion for you. And I shouldn’t say ‘about you’ because I don’t want you to take it that personally. It’s not really about you.”
Sofia Richie Defended Olivia Jade Giannulli After Her Interview
After Olivia Jade shared a clip of the interview to her Instagram account, Sofia Richie quickly came to her defense. She showed her support in the comment section, writing, “Yes girl! Cant wait for what’s ahead.”
But when someone responded and said that her message was an example of “white privilege supporting white privilege,” Richie quickly fired back, “We are all human, who make human mistakes. Life is too short to wish negativity on anyone. Sending you love.”