The new Gossip Girl has brought up an unexpected clapback to the horizon. Lori Loughlin’s daughter, Olivia Jade, took to TikTok to respond to a joke about the college admissions scandal her mother was a part of. Here’s a little reminder: rich people used their resources to cheat their kids into prestigious schools, and they got caught. Loughlin and her husband pleaded guilty after paying $500,000 to get Olivia and her sister into USC as rowing recruits. Mom was sentenced to two months in prison, 100 community service hours, and a $150,000 fine. Dad ended up getting a five month sentence.
When Gossip Girl made a joke about Olivia gaining followers when her mom went to jail, she decided to set the record straight:
I have a hard time feeling bad for Olivia or her parents in this situation. If you put aside the technicalities around how many followers she gained or lost, there is no doubt that the scandal made her name more known. Not only did she gain publicity, but she has been freely making content without being cancelled, even after a video of her saying she doesn’t care about school while enrolled at USC and was more interested in partying, was brought up. It’s already surprising she was able to sneak past all of this as just a memory, so I find it bold of her to take a stance like this online as if her mom going to jail was in the same vein as saying Olivia is only famous because her mom was on Full House. Olivia’s parents used their fame to game the system, and got punished with a few months in jail, and for them, some spare change. One of the frequent examples Cody wrote about in his piece was how some Black mothers faced heavier sentences because they lied about their address to get their children into a better school district. When you weigh the societal implications that come into play with these two situations, there’s no question that there is a systemic issue that benefits the group with white and monetary privilege. This scandal was a big moment in pop culture, so Olivia should expect to hear about it once in a while. In her appearance on Red Table Talk, Olivia said she thinks “it’s necessary for us to move on and to move forward.” I understand that it probably isn’t pleasant to see people talk about your parents going to jail, but that’s the one thing throughout the scandal that seems to have gone the way it would’ve gone with anyone else: it follows you. Sometimes it will come in the form of a joke, and if that’s the only thing Olivia will have to deal with as an inconvenience for her parent’s actions, then they got real lucky (aka privilege is at work, yet again).
Something else I found interesting was Olivia's fixation on the followers comment more than the part where the show talked about her mom going to jail. It’s a testament to how things have changed with where the onus of publicity lies. In the past, any mention of a controversial moment like going to jail would be the part that held weight in the media. The fact that Olivia was offended that people thought she gained followers in connection to the scandal instead of how they brought up her mother’s incarceration is further testament of followers being the new currency. No influencer ever wants to be accused of gaining their followers through something that isn’t solely based on their own merit, because in this new age, that’s what makes you a fraud. In a world of perfect social media curation, the simulation is based on the idea that influencer’s lives are perfect. Olivia using social media shows she will dispute any idea that her success has come from this. Whether or not people followed her, she still has more eyes on her because of the scandal. It was enough for her to get mentioned by name in a trendy show. Had it not been for the scandal, she wouldn’t have been referred to by her name on a platform like this. When the opportunity came to make more noise around it, she went for it, and now here we are talking about her again. This TikTok is her first one in a while to hit 1 million views, so one thing we do know for sure is that she got even more heads turning. My next question is how long it will take for us to see Lori on her account.