Olivia Jade Giannulli sat down for a bombshell Red Table Talk interview with Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield Norris about the college admissions scandal that sent her parents to prison.
It was her first interview following her family’s involvement in the scandal “Operation Varsity Blues.”
Of course, Olivia Jade is the younger daughter of Lori Loughlin and Mossimi Gianulli — two of the many named in a sting operation that uncovered a ring of well-off parents committing serious fraud to get their kids into elite colleges.
Since its debut two years ago, Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Red Table Talk has become synonymous with healing and accountability. Olivia Jade’s highly anticipated visit to the table was no exception, but not everyone was eager to hear Olivia’s side of the story.
From the get-go, Adrienne — aka Gam-Gam, Jada’s opinionated mother — was not feeling it.
“I fought [Olivia Jade appearing on the show] tooth and nail,” Adrienne admitted at the table. “I just find it really ironic that she chose three Black women to reach out to for her redemption story. White women 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 to me.”
But Jada said she felt a responsibility to offer Olivia a chance to explain herself. She decided it was important that Olivia had an opportunity to speak her truth, even if it was coming from a place of privilege.
Now that the trial is over, Olivia can speak freely about the lengths her parents went to, although she still claims she “didn’t really 100 percent understand” what had happened. News of the arrests broke while Olivia was vacationing on a yacht during spring break. Cue the eye rolls from all us regular folks.
But here’s the thing: Olivia and her sister didn’t understand it was wrong, because it didn’t seem out of the ordinary.
“I know that sounds so silly, but in the bubble that I grew up in, I didn’t know so much outside of it. And a lot of kids in that bubble, their parents were donating to schools and doing stuff that advantaged them,” Olivia admitted. “It’s not fair and it’s not right. But it was happening, right? And so when this first came out, I was like, I don’t really understand what’s wrong with this.”
After everything, Olivia Jade didn’t return to the university, either, saying she was “too embarrassed.” And you know what? She admitted that she “shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”
So, back to the Red Table Talk being about healing and accountability. The 21-year-old acknowledged her privilege and insisted that her views have changed.
As for moving forward, Olivia is hoping to give back to the Los Angeles community — focusing on volunteer efforts.
Adrienne had a hard time with Olivia’s explanations. She pointed out that promises to do better aren’t worth much in today’s world full of inequality.
“Right now, in the atmosphere that the world is in, it’s very difficult for me to feel compassionate about you,” Adrienne told her.
Olivia acknowledged Adrienne’s feelings about the issue, but said she didn’t come to the table to “win people over.” She came to talk in order to “apologize for contributing to the social inequality” without even realizing it.
“That’s embarrassing within itself, that I walked around my whole 20 years of life not realizing, like, you have insane privilege. You’re like the poster child of white privilege and you had no idea,” Olivia admitted.