Olivia Jade Giannulli has spoken out now that her parents Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli have been imprisoned for buying her and her sister’s way into college.
“I’m not trying to victimize myself,” she said on a new episode of Red Table Talk. “I don’t want pity. I don’t deserve pity. We messed up. I just want a second chance to be like, ‘I recognize I messed up.’ And for so long, I wasn’t able to talk about this because of the legalities behind it. I never got to say, ‘I’m really sorry that this happened.'”
Reception from the co-hosts were mixed. Actress Jada Pinkett Smith and daughter Willow Smith were more actively supportive. Pinkett Smith’s mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris looked dimly on Giannulli showing up to speak to them.
“I just found it really ironic that she chose three Black women to reach out to for her redemption story,” she said in the episode’s intro. “I feel like here we are, white woman coming to Black women for support when we don’t get the same from them. It’s bothersome to me on so many levels. Her being here is the epitome of white privilege.”
Banfield-Norris also voiced these reservations during the actual interview: at the end of it all, Giannulli and her family were going to be okay, with the defendants serving their “sixty days,” paying their fines, and moving on with their lives. Not everyone has that experience.
“There is so much violent dehumanization that the Black community has to go through on a daily basis,” Banfield-Norris said, later telling Giannulli, “When you come to the table with something like this [the criminal case], it’s like, ‘Child, please.'”
According to prosecutors, Loughlin and Mr. Giannulli paid a total of $500,000 to get Olivia Jade and her sister Isabella Giannulli into USC with the help of mastermind-turned-key witness Rick Singer. The parents falsely presented their kids as participants in crew. Authorities said the father was the more active participant, but the mother was still culpable too.
Olivia Jade Giannulli kept a relatively low profile during the case, though she notably posted and then deleted a cheeky picture from her Instagram account a last year. She was shown flipping the bird and pointedly tagging multiple news outlets.
During the new interview, Giannulli said she hid herself for three or four months after her parents were arrested. She felt “embarrassed and ashamed” at what happened. Giannulli even referenced the infamous 2018 video in which she said she did not care about school.
Now she said there was “no malicious intent behind it.” All told, she acknowledged that what happened was wrong, and that other people did not grow up with the same privilege she had. She said that she wanted the opportunity to show that she had grown.
“I feel like a huge part of having privilege is not knowing you have privilege,” she said. “And so when it was happening, it didn’t feel wrong. It didn’t feel like, ‘That’s not fair. A lot of people don’t have that.’ I was in my own little bubble focusing about my comfortable world.”
Giannulli also said she felt misunderstood, however.
“I’m not this bratty girl that doesn’t want to change anything,” she said, adding that she understood why people were angry and said hurtful things. “And I would too if I wasn’t in my boat.”
[Screengrab via Red Table Talk]
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