Olivia Jade Giannulli broke her silence on the college admissions scandal after appearing on the Dec. 8th episode of Red Table Talk with Willow Smith, mom Jada Pinkett Smith and grandma Adrienne Banfield Norris. But what did Willow think of the 21-year-old YouTuber's remarks?
"She agrees with Adrienne that Olivia will be fine because she's white, pretty and rich—white privilege serves her redemption more than the financial privilege," a source told E! News. "Willow understands how hard it is for the Black community to forgive Olivia. But if she is genuine about wanting to change and be better, she feels she does deserve a second chance."
The insider claimed Willow also thinks Olivia shouldn't be defined by this experience. "She was still really young when it first transpired, like when the rowing pics were taken," the source continued. "We all make mistakes when we are young and she should get a second chance."
"I just found it really ironic that she chose three Black women to reach out to for her redemption story," the matriarch, also known as Gammy, said. "I feel like, here we are, 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."
While Jada understood where Adrienne was coming from, she also said she never wants "to be the thing that was done to me by white women."
"I also believe that these are the kinds of attitudes that feed the same thing that we're fighting," the actress said. "It's like, people look at us, they say, 'You're Black and you're female,' and they automatically put us in a category. So looking at her as being white, young and privileged and then putting her in a category, it's the same thing. So, I just see it as this cycle."
Still, Adrienne argued it wasn't their responsibility to "raise her consciousness." Jada agreed and acknowledged the family could get "heat" over having Olivia on Red Table Talk. Still, she considered it a "practice of compassion."
"To me, this young girl is reaping the repercussions of some actions of her parents," said the 49-year-old. "When I heard her story, it just reminded me of Jaden [Smith], Willow and Trey [Smith]….As a parent, I'm like, oh, I've been in that position with me thinking I know what's best for my kids, and then they suffer the consequence of it."
The Girls Trip star also said that "just because you have privilege, it doesn't exempt you." "The fact that Willow for so long suffered in silence and even turned to self-harming herself because she didn't feel like she had a right to be hurt. I've had to deal with that part, as well," Jada said. "People go, 'Your kids are going to be fine because they're rich. We don't care.' And that's painful and it's not true. I feel like Olivia deserves the space."
Ultimately, Willow, 20, said "we can't act like we know exactly what happened." So, the family members decided to hear what Olivia had to say. During the nearly 30-minute chat, Olivia talked about the scheme and how she's trying to move forward.
"I think what hasn't been super public is that there is no justifying or excusing what happened because what happened was wrong," she said. "And I think every single person in my family can be like, 'That was messed up. That was a big mistake.' But I think what's so important to me is, like, to learn from the mistake—not to now be shamed and punished and never given a second chance. 'Cause I'm 21, I feel like I deserve a second chance to redeem myself, to show I've grown."
While Olivia claimed she "was not fully aware of what was going on" when she was applying to schools, she also admitted she didn't initially understand why people were upset when news of the scandal broke.
"When all of this first happened and it became public, I remember thinking—which my thoughts are completely different now—I remember thinking, 'How are people mad about this?'" she recalled. "Like, 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—so many advantages. It's not fair and it's not right, but it was happening. And so when this first came out, I was like, I don't really understand what's wrong with this….I didn't realize at the time that was privilege."
At one point, Adrienne asked if Olivia fully understood why she was upset. "I think, for me, it's like, there is so much violent dehumanization that the Black community has to go through on a daily basis, right?" the host said. "There is so much devastation, particularly this year 2020, with the pandemic and everything being brought to the table, just how there's so much inequality and inequity that when you come to the table with something like this, it's like, child, please."
For her part, Adrienne is tired of the injustices continually faced by the Black community. "I just don't have the energy to put into the fact that you lost your endorsements, right?" she explained. "Or you're not in school right now. Because 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 OK 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."
Olivia noted she "didn't come on here to try to win people over" and said she wanted to "apologize for contributing to social inequalities."
Near the end of the talk, Adrienne said "it's not you" that she was mad at as much as "it's the situation."
Lori and Mossimo are both currently serving time behind bars for charges relating to securing the fraudulent admission of Olivia and her sister Isabella, 22, to the University of Southern California as purported athletic recruits.
In May, the Full House alum pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud while her fashion designer husband pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud. Lori was sentenced to two months in prison, as well as two years of supervised release, 100 hours of community service and payment of a $150,000 fine. Mossimo was sentenced to five months in prison, two years of supervised release, 250 hours of community service and a $250,000 fine.
To learn more about the college admissions scandal, click here.