In case you missed it, Lori Loughlin is returning to acting.
It was confirmed on Tuesday that the former When Calls the Heart actor will reprise her role as Abigail Stanton from the Hallmark Channel series in the spinoff, When Hope Calls, for a two-part special premiering in December this year.
Loughlin first found fame as Aunt Becky on Full House but is now perhaps better known for her involvement in the college admissions scandal.
In March 2019, Loughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, were both arrested for bribing their two daughters' way into the University of Southern California.
The scandal — dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues" — saw Loughlin and Giannulli exposed as a part of a wider group of wealthy individuals who, under the organization of ringleader Rick Singer, bribed their children into elite colleges including Stanford, Yale, USC, and UCLA.
A year after their arrests in May 2020, the couple pled guilty to conspiracy charges after they were accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to Singer's purported charity and university officials to ensure that their daughters — Olivia Jade, 22, and Isabella Rose, 23 — were accepted into USC.
Singer, with the help of the Giannulli family, composed false student-athlete profiles to help the girls get accepted into USC as rowing recruits despite neither of them having ever taken part in the sport.
Last year, Loughlin was sentenced to a two-month prison sentence, a $150,000 fine, and 150 hours of community service. Meanwhile, her husband agreed to a five-month sentence in prison, a $250,000 fine, and two years of supervised release with 250 hours of community service.
The Full House actor began her sentence in October last year and ultimately served nearly two months before being released in December. She is currently on a two-year supervised release.
Rumors of Loughlin’s return to acting first surfaced last week after reports claimed that she had been granted permission by a Boston federal judge to travel to Canada for “a filming production project.”
So, in light of her involvement in the scandal, many have been quick to express their disappointment that Loughlin will be returning to screens after her ~brief~ prison sentence.
“It's effing disgusting they're putting this woman back on TV after screwing more deserving students out of a lifetime opportunity to attend a prestigious school,” one person wrote in response to the news. “It's a hard no for me…”
Additionally, many viewers pointed out that a lot of individuals struggle to find work after being incarcerated, with one writing that “the elite don't live by the same rules.”
“I have some things on my driving record from over 7 years ago now that are still stopping me from getting work licenses. Cool,” someone else wrote of their own experience trying to find work.
Loughlin’s return to acting was declared by many as a clear example of how white people, particularly those in positions of power, are afforded far more leniency and privilege than their non-white peers, with one person calling the news “white privileged at it finest.”
“As usual, no consequences for the rich and white,” added another.
The apparent lack of consequences being faced by Loughlin and her daughters became a prominent talking point as fans responded to the news of her new acting job. One user went on to suggest that the issue doesn’t lie with her return to acting, but rather the fact that “she faced no real repercussions.”
“White privilege a Mf…and her daughter on DWTS….they stole scholarships from other people, and they get to live their same life like it never happened….,” someone agreed.
However, others argued that Loughlin had in fact paid the price for her mistakes — particularly in light of the fact that a lot of bribery surrounding college admissions goes largely unnoticed.
“She just got caught doing when many do across many different avenues. She can move on,” someone wrote in support.
Echoing this, another tweeted: “Good for her. Paid debt (more than most) now get back to work.”
“She was wrong, she tried to help her daughter get into college and actually went to prison for it, lost a bunch of money. We have politicians that do far worse,” agreed another.
Similarly, others came to Loughlin’s defense by suggesting that all people who have served time in prison have a right to return to work, regardless of their public profile.
“What are you saying, she should never work again because she made a mistake? Do you feel this way for all felons or just high profile ones? I'd rather someone come out of prison rehabilitated and become a productive member of society,” someone wrote.
“We have discussions about those convicted of crimes and who have completed their sentences being able to return to society and continuing on with their lives, including having their voting rights restored. Yet, we do not practice what we preach. Which is it?” agreed another.
The news of Loughlin’s return to acting comes just weeks after her youngest daughter, Olivia Jade, attracted criticism after she was announced as a contestant on this year’s Dancing With the Stars.
A YouTube personality and former USC student, Olivia Jade was ultimately one of the biggest names involved in the scandal, having forged a lucrative career as an influencer before the bribery and misconduct came to light.
And while it's not clear how much the 22-year-old knew about her parents’ actions, Olivia and her sister, Bella — who both posed on rowing machines to help bolster their false resumés — maintain that they were unaware of what was happening behind closed doors.
When it was announced that Olivia would be competing on DWTS, fans of the show were unsurprisingly angry about the decision, with many calling it a demonstration of white privilege.
“Olivia Jade being a contestant on Dancing With the Stars is a prime example of white privilege,” one viewer wrote. “I'll tell you this: if a black person's parent scammed an entire university, they wouldn't be on TV. I guess ratings prevail over morals.”
And as she progresses on the show, fans have remained unimpressed.
“The fact that dancing with the stars gave Olivia Jade arguably the best dancing partner offered on the show serves as proof that you can lie, cheat and scam your way through life…,” another viewer tweeted. “Not cool for young generations watching. What a shame.”
In a bid to move on from the scandal, Olivia appeared on an episode of Red Table Talk in December last year and revealed that she hadn’t originally understood why people were angry about the situation, explaining that in her social circles, it was relatively “normal” for families to pay their children’s way into a college of their choice.
“It’s not fair and it’s not right, but it was happening,” she said. “This was normal. But I didn’t realize at the time that was privilege.”