Film Reviews

Netflix's "Operation Varsity Blues" Distracts from How Rigged College Admissions Actually Are

While the 2019 college admissions scandal showed the lengths the extremely wealthy are willing to go to get what they want, the college process is set up to favor rich, white students

Olivia Jade, daughter of Lori Loughlin who was charged with paying to get Olivia into USC

via Red Table Talk on Facebook

The new Netflix documentary Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal is a thorough look at how the college admissions scandal began, worked, and was eventually taken down.

Using the original wiretaps and actual conversations reenacted by actors alongside documentary footage of experts and people close to those indicted, Operation Varsity Blues is exactly as enraging as you would think — a portrait of privilege and a reaffirmation of how easily the extremely wealthy game the system.

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Culture Feature

A Message to Olivia Jade, David Guetta, and Other White Celebrities: You Can Just Shut Up

Some people have a responsibility to speak up, others should really just listen

Olivia Jade Giannulli, the 20-year-old social media influencer and daughter of actor Lori Laughlin (Full House) and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli has come under fire for comments she made on the topic of racial justice and white privilege.

In the context of ongoing protests filling the streets of American cities, Giannulli—who goes by Olivia Jade—must have felt she has some responsibility to add her voice to the conversation. Here's the thing though: She doesn't.

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CULTURE

See the Fake Resume That Got Lori Loughlin's Daughter into USC

The forged document suggests that one of Loughlin's daughters—probably YouTuber Olivia Jade—was a rowing star.

Last March, Full House actress Lori Loughlin and her husband were charged by the FBI in a now infamous nationwide college entrance exam cheating scandal.

Loughlin and her husband were accused of paying scheme organizer Rick Singer half a million dollars to guarantee that their two daughters—one of whom is Olivia Jade Giannulli, a popular YouTuber and social media influencer—would be admitted into the University of Southern California.

A fake resume has since surfaced that was used in the USC application of one of Loughlin's daughters. As Page Six points out, the high school graduation year corresponds with Olivia Jade's. The resume details an extensive rowing career—a sport neither of Loughlin's daughters has any experience in—and claims the unnamed Giannulli sister has medals in the San Diego Crew Classic dating back to 2014, while her top skills listed are "awareness, organization, direction and steering." Smells fishy!

Still, Loughlin and her husband argue that they believed their cool half-million was given as a well-intended donation to USC, and they pled not guilty in the case and were eventually released on a bail bond of $1 million each. Olivia Jade claimed she had no idea about any falsifications in her application, and the USC registrar has since confirmed that she no longer attends the school (it's unknown whether or not she was expelled).

Olivia Jade is now supposedly doing the Internet influencer thing full-time. On the bright side, she was never that excited about higher education in the first place: "I don't know how much of school I'm gonna attend," she announced to her nearly 2 million subscribers before heading off to USC. "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."

CULTURE

Lori Loughlin Pleads Not Guilty: Thought She Was “Breaking Rules, not Laws"

In the latest development with the college admissions cheating scandal, a source reports that the former 'Full House' star feels "manipulated."

JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images

Lori Loughlin and her husband Massimo Giannulli pleaded not guilty to all charges –– conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, honest services mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering –– in the scandal surrounding the college admissions scam.

The couple was accused of paying $500,000 to get their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella, into USC as crew recruitments, despite the fact that neither of them participates in the sport.

A source close to Loughlin told ET, "[Lori and her husband] claim they were under the impression they might be breaking rules, but not laws," and that "they feel they were manipulated by those involved and are planning that as part of their defense."

After the initial charges, Loughlin and Giannulli were indicted on a second charge of conspiring to commit fraud and money laundering on April 9th, on top of the initial charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The second charge came after Loughlin did not accept the plea bargain that would have allowed for a minimum two and a half year sentence and no additional money laundering charges. People reported on a source close to Loughlin who stated that at the time of rejecting the plea deal, she "didn't really realize how serious the charges were."

If convicted, Loughlin and Giannulli could serve up to 20 years in prison for each charge, totaling a maximum of 40 years. According to TMZ, the couple faces a minimum time of four years and nine months.

Another source told E! News, "Lori really believes she isn't guilty and that any parent would have done the same thing that she did if they were in that position."

Up until the second indictment, Loughlin was apparently under the impression that she would not be going to jail and instead expected a "slap on the wrist," according to ET. Now that the new charges are raised, things are looking far more dire.

One source told People: "[The prosecutors] are saying that the only way anyone's going to escape jail time is if they go to trial and are found not guilty."

It goes to show that trusting a con man running a fake charity to get your daughters into college is not the best move.


Sara is a music and culture writer who lives in Brooklyn. Her work has previously appeared in PAPER magazine and Stereogum.


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