Olivia Jade Giannulli has broken her silence about the college admissions scandal during an appearance on Tuesday’s “Red Table Talk”.
The 21-year-old daughter of Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, who are currently serving their prison sentences after pleading guilty in May to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud, wanted to share her opinion for the first time in the candid chat.
Giannulli and Loughlin paid $500,000 in bribes to get both Olivia Jade and their eldest daughter, 22-year-old Bella, admitted to the University of Southern California as recruits for the crew team, though neither of them had ever participated in the sport. They initially pleaded not guilty to all charges levelled against them, claiming their payments were donations to the school and not bribes.
Before welcoming Olivia Jade to the much-talked about table, Jada Pinkett Smith made it clear that she and her co-hosts — mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris and daughter Willow Smith — had “very different feelings” about the interview.
Banfield-Norris admitted it didn’t feel right for a white woman to come to a group of Black women for support when the same couldn’t be guaranteed if their roles were reversed.
She shared, “Her being here is the epitome of white privilege. She’s going to recover whether her a** is sitting at this table or not.”
Admitting she chose the show to open up on because she wanted a “safe and honest” place, Olivia Jade said of her parents now being in prison: “It’s been hard. No matter what the situation is, you don’t want to see your parents go to prison. But it’s necessary for us to move on and move forward.”
She later added after admitting she hadn’t had any contact with them, “I’m trying to look at the positives in situations, you know? I know it’s a positive that she’s in there right now. She gets to really rethink everything that happened, when she comes out [she can] kind of figure out what she wants to do with what she’s learned from all of this. Hopefully that will be a blessing in the end.”
“What hasn’t been super public is that there’s no justifying or excusing what happened,” she continued.
“Every single person in my family can be like, ‘That was messed up. That was a big mistake.’ But what’s important for me is to learn from the mistake, not to now be shamed and punished and never given a second chance. I mean, I’m 21, I feel like I deserve a second chance to redeem myself [and] to show I’ve grown. I’m not trying to victimize myself. I don’t want pity. I don’t deserve pity. I just want a second chance and to say I recognized that I messed up.”
The influencer also explained how for a while she was questioning, “How are people mad about this?” because she was so oblivious to how privileged she was, admitting it wasn’t out of the ordinary for parents to make huge donations to schools despite saying she now knew it wasn’t right.
When asked to define white privilege, Olivia Jade, who constantly said how “embarrassed” she’d been about the whole thing, replied, “I understand that just based of my skin colour, I already have a foot in the door. I recognize that.”
Banfield-Norris shared: “There is so much violent dehumanization that the Black community has to go through on a daily basis — so much devastation, particularly this year with the pandemic and everything being brought to the table. There’s so much inequality and inequity that when you come to the table with something like this, it’s like, ‘Child, please!’
“I’m exhausted with everything that we have to deal with as community, and I just don’t have the energy to put into the fact that you lost your endorsements. Or that you’re not in school right now. At the end of the day, you’re going to be okay. Your parents are going to go in and do their 60 days and pay their fines and you’ll live your life. There are so many of us where it’s not going to be that situation. A year from now, I might feel differently. It’s very difficult for me to feel compassionate about you.”
Pinkett Smith eventually told her guest, “You’re a brave girl. I don’t know too many young women in your position who would sit down with the three of us.”
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