Wooo, boy. On Tuesday, Olivia Jade—daughter of Lori Loughlin (Aunt Becky) and Mossimo Giannulli, both of whom took plea deals for their involvement in the highly publicized College Admissions Scandal—sat down with Jada Pinkett Smith, daughter Willow Smith, and her mother Adrienne Banfield-Jones on Smith’s Facebook Watch show Red Table Talk, the premiere space for celebrity crisis publicity, to discuss the controversy. (To recap: in Spring 2019, Becky and Mossimo were caught dropping $500,000 in bribes to gain admission for their daughters Olivia Jade and “the other one,” Isabella Rose Giannulli, into the University of Southern California. They pled not guilty, then guilty, because they were guilty.)
The episode begins with Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Jones discussing what having Olivia Jade on their show means—is she trying to use three black women for her redemption arc? (Yes.) Or does she view the red table as a place for open and considerate conversation? (Maybe, but mostly the first thing.)
Jade arrives, smiling and cheerful, admitting that she feels “nervous... ashamed and embarrassed,” about the whole ordeal—and that she hasn’t spoken to either parent since they became incarcerated.
“I didn’t come on here today to, like, try and win people over,” she explains at the twenty-minute mark. “‘Oh, I need people to like me.’ I just want to apologize for contributing to these social inequalities, even though, maybe, I didn’t realize it at the time. Like, being able to come here and recognize that I am aware.”
When pressured to admit whether or not she was angry at her parents for bribing her way into college, she said: “To be honest, I wasn’t angry, and I think it’s because I didn’t have a good understanding of what just happened. I didn’t see the wrong in it. Like, 100 percent honestly, when it first happened, I didn’t look at it and say, ‘Oh my god, how dare we do this?’ It was like, ‘Why is everyone complaining? I’m confused about what we did.’ And that’s embarrassing to admit. That’s embarrassing, that I walked around my whole 20 years of life not realizing, ‘You have insane privilege. You’re, like, the poster child of white privilege. And you had no idea.’”
So what’s the point of having Olivia Jade on the show? I assume to make viewers recognize that she didn’t understand that using her financial privilege and celebrity to get whatever she wants is bad, but also to make viewers sympathize with her situation and school Jade on white privilege in the same breath. Next time, let’s have some non-rich people interrogate her, shall we?
It’s not until the final five minutes that Adrienne Banfield-Jones mentions how bonkers it is that Jade’s parents went to the extent that they did to get her into USC—fake photo shoots and dropping half-a-million in bribes over an extended period of time—which Jade meets with, “I think what was hard for me too is [that] I worked my ass off in high school. I wasn’t slacking in high school. I don’t want to discredit myself to the point where it’s like, ‘I have all this and also I didn’t care. I really did care. I was always a very involved student. I think that I put a lot of trust in a person that claimed their profession was college counseling,” no doubt a reference to Rick Singer, confessed orchestrator of the College Admissions Scandal. She continues, “And it led me in a wrong direction. And it’s not to shift blame, but it’s just to explain, like, I wasn’t aware of what was going on.” Okay!
When the conversation comes to a close, Jade says, “I’ve never done an interview before, I don’t think. I think this is my first interview,” an obvious and easily researched lie. The symbolism!
At any rate, I imagine the Olivia Jade redemption tour will continue. Both Loughlin and Giannulli were sentenced to jail time—Aunt Becky got two months in prison, 100 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay a $150,000 fine, while Giannulli received five months in prison, ordered to pay a $250,000 fine, and made to conduct 250 hours of community service. If all goes according to plan, Loughlin will be out by Christmas, and Giannulli will join his family in Spring 2021, TMZ reports.