Will Hollywood and the entertainment industry rally around Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman after the two got named in a major RICO case involving mail and tax fraud and college admissions? Er … not exactly. Their fellow celebrities spent most of the last 24 hours teeing off on the pair and others involved in the massive scheme, Fox News notes, from social media to late-night television:
Stars are continuing to slam the famous suspects in the college cheating admissions scandal, Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin — who were among dozens charged in the elite scheme Tuesday — with memes and other jokes on social media.
Some used scenes from the actresses’ various popular TV shows while others reflected on their own college prep experiences. …
“Varsity Blues” alum James Van Der Beek poked fun at the FBI’s title for the scam, “Operation Varsity Blues.”
“If only there was a succinct turn of phrase these kids could have used to inform their parents they were not desirous of their life path…” he tweeted.
That’s a nice example of self-deprecation from Van Der Beek, who also managed to fit into one of Stephen Colbert’s jokes on the subject. So too did Donald Trump, briefly, but for the most part Colbert stuck it to the perpetrators, including Huffman and Loughlin. “In their defense,” Colbert snarked about Loughlin’s daughters and their posing as crew athletes, “I’m pretty sure they knew all the words to ‘Row Row Row Your Boat'”:
“This morning, the F.B.I. announced that they were charging dozens of wealthy parents with using bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate their children’s admission to elite schools, including Stanford, U.C.L.A., Wake Forest, Yale, Georgetown, University of Texas, University of San Diego, and U.S.C,” Colbert continued. “The F.B.I. was tipped off by the essay question on this year’s common application: ‘Reflect on an accomplishment that sparked personal growth, and/or list your parent’s credit card number.’”
Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah also took aim at the celebrities in the scandal, but only spent a couple of minutes on the story before moving on to beating up Donald Trump — clearly safer territory for the Daily Show crowd. That’s not to say that Noah didn’t score a few points on the perps, though. All the attempts to game the system, Noah notes, creates a problem that these parents can’t avoid. “At some point,” Noah quips, “people are going to figure out that your kid is stupid“:
Or at least that they can’t hold an oar properly.
Earlier this morning, I guest-hosted for Hugh Hewitt — and for three hours, this was the story listeners wanted to discuss. We had callers in almost every segment, even if we couldn’t get to them. The disgust and scorn for everyone involved in this scheme, but especially for the celebrities, was palpable. This crosses partisan lines, regions, and all other demographics in its bald affront to fair play. These families had all of the advantages possible and still committed fraud to game the system. It’s a story practically built for ridicule and satire.
NBC News points out how unnecessary the scheme was anyway. If these wealthy families wanted to buy their way into specific schools, they should have just taken the direct approach:
Quinn says she’s seen first hand the explosion in parents eager to boost their kids’ opportunities. Testing Mom, the business Quinn co-founded eight years ago, has grown from a few hundred to “a few hundred thousand” monthly subscribers, who pay, on average, $30 a month to gain access to the kinds of sample questions that might be found on school admissions tests.
“We’ve always told parents never to offer money or gifts or anything like that to an admissions director because that could be considered bribery, but we do know that especially with families of means, they know how to get it communicated to the school that if their child is accepted they will be a very generous donor. If people are working with certain consultants, those consultants can find ways to get that information across to schools about their willingness to donate so that the parents don’t have to.”
Quinn says the desperation of some parents is “unbelievable,” noting she is aware of at least one family that got their children into a top university by offering to pay for an entire library — and of other families that boosted a child’s standardized test scores by having an older sibling take the test in the younger child’s place. …
“Long term, it says to the kids ‘You don’t have to play by the rules. You don’t have to live an honest life.’”
Unless you’re stupid enough to get caught, that is. Maybe these parents are giving their kids a real education after all.
Update: Our long national nightmare is finally over.
BREAKING: The FBI says actress Lori Loughlin has been taken into custody in connection with a scheme in which wealthy parents paid bribes to get their children into top colleges. https://t.co/b2QZkTNNLA
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 13, 2019
Whew! I haven’t felt this safe since just before they let Martha Stewart out of prison. Seriously, though, Loughlin will likely not stay in custody long, although it will take a lot of cash to make the kind of bail she will have to post. Huffman got a $250,000 bail yesterday and some significant travel restrictions, and Loughlin will likely face something similar.