Olivia Jade Giannulli, the daughter of Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, has broken her silence on the college admissions scandal that sent both of her parents to prison. She appeared Tuesday on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk on Facebook Watch, where, right off the bat, Adrienne Banfield-Norris (aka Gammy) revealed she didn’t want to have Giannulli on the show.
“You know, I fought it tooth and nail,” Banfield-Norris said in regards to Giannulli’s appearance. “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. It’s just, it’s bothersome to me on so many levels. Her being here is the epitome of white privilege to me.”
She punctuated that by saying, “It’s not our responsibility to raise her consciousness.”
Nonetheless, Giannulli sat in the hot seat to talk to Pinkett Smith, Banfield-Norris and Willow Smith about the scandal and her parents.
“I think that this has been a really eye-opening experience for me and situation, and although there’s a lot of negative around it, and there’s a lot of mistakes and wrongdoings, it’s led me to have a completely different outlook on a lot of situations,” said Giannulli. She said she wanted to break her silence on Red Table Talk because it was a space where she wouldn’t feel attacked and be honest with her feelings.
She revealed she hasn’t visited her parents since they were imprisoned for the scandal, in which they were caught in a wide-ranging scheme in which parents bribed college officials to get their children into universities under false pretenses.
Loughlin was sentenced to two months in prison and Mossimo Giannulli got five months for their roles in the scandal.
Before her parents were were locked up, Giannulli said they had a conversation about the situation and what exactly happened. “I think that what hasn’t been super public is that there is no justifying or excusing what happened, cause what happened was wrong and I think every single person in my family can be like, ‘That was messed up. That was a big mistake’,” she said. “But I think what’s so important to me is to learn from the mistake. Not to now be shamed and punished and never given a second chance. Because I’m 21, I feel like I deserve a second chance to redeem myself, to show I’ve grown.”
During the talk, they unpacked all the events surrounding the scandal, her parents’ imprisonment and how the YouTube star lost her endorsements. Giannulli also talked about how she was on spring break when she found out about the news. “I remember just freezing and feeling so ashamed,” she admitted. “I went home and hid myself for probably like three or four months.”
Understandably, she didn’t return to school. “I never went back. I was too embarrassed,” she said.
Later in the conversation, Gammy didn’t hold mince words about the whole situation.
“I’m exhausted,” said Banfield-Norris. “I’m exhausted with everything that 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.”
She continued, “At the end of the day you’re gonna be OK because your parents are gonna go in, and they’re gonna do their 60 days, and they’re gonna pay their fine, and you guys will go on and you’ll be okay and you will live your life… and there’s so many of us that it is not going to be that situation. It just makes it very difficult right now for me to care. In this atmosphere that we are in right now.”
Banfield-Norris said that she may feel differently in a year, but right now she found it difficult to have compassion for Giannulli.
Giannulli said she didn’t want to come on Red Table Talk to win people over. She said she wanted to apologize “for contributing to these social inequalities.” She claims that after all this, she is “aware.”