Olivia Jade Giannulli appeared on Red Table Talk Tuesday to give her first interview since her parents, Full House actress Lori Loughlin and designer Mossimo Giannulli, were implicated in the college admissions scandal. Loughlin and Giannulli are both currently serving prison sentences, a total of seven months combined, as part of a plea deal reached with prosecutors.
The 21-year-old influencer has stayed quiet since March 2019, but approached the hosts of the Facebook talk show — Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Jones — to share her story because, according to Olivia Jade, the show creates a “place that feels really safe.”
But Banfield-Jones, also known as Gammy, ahead of welcoming Olivia Jade to the table, voiced her concerns with having the guest appear on their platform. “I fought tooth and nail,” Gammy said. “Her being here is the epitome of white privilege.”
Olivia Jade recognized this during the interview, noting that she’s become more aware of her status. “A huge part of having privilege is not knowing you have privilege,” she admitted. “So when it was happening, it didn’t feel wrong.” She went on to claim that one of the ways she has reckoned with this realization has been by volunteering with young children in Watts, Calif. However, in the wake of a pandemic that has disproportionately affected Black and brown people and the Black Lives Matter movement, Gammy was not impressed.
“There is so much violent dehumanization that the Black community has to go through on a daily basis. There is so much devastation, particularly this year 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,’” Gammy said. “I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted with everything we have to deal with as a community and I just don’t have the energy to put into the fact that you lost your endorsements, or you’re not in school right now because at the end of the day you’re gonna be OK ‘cause 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 where it’s not gonna be that situation. It just makes it very difficult right now for me to care.”
Black women resonated with Gammy, who not only stood up for her beliefs prior to the sit-down conversation but shared her honest thoughts throughout the interview, and many shared their praise and own perspectives.
Fashion journalist Danielle Prescod said on Instagram that Olivia Jade “still has such a fundamental misunderstanding of what her privilege is and what it means, and how she has committed such an abuse of privilege. Like, she has only gone as far as acknowledging she has it and that’s as far as it stops for her.” She goes on, “What are you really doing with your privilege to change this system? Literally nothing.” She concluded, “I don’t want to hear about your cute charity work or your pink suit,” and shared a screenshot of Olivia Jade’s Instagram account and pointed out that it had no posts about Black Lives Matter or voting, nor shoutouts to any organizations.
Iyana Robertson wrote a personal essay for PopSugar title “Dear Olivia Jade: Leaning on Black Women Is Peak White Privilege,” and confessed that the episode brought tears to her eyes. “Angry tears, the kind that well up as your heart races,” she said, which were triggered by seeing Olivia Jade “search for solace, warmth, and understanding in the Black hosts.
“Imagine my exasperation when women who look like me were being tasked with being Giannulli’s ‘safe’ and ‘honest’ space,” Robertson said. “Baby, Black women’s boots have been on the ground all year. When Breonna Taylor’s body was littered with bullets, we hit the streets. When six Black trans women were found dead in a span of nine days, we hit the streets. When Sha-Asia Washington died before she could meet her newborn daughter, we hit the streets. When this country needed saving from Donald Trump, we hit the streets — and became vice president.”
On social media, reactions were similar, with New York Times journalist Shanita Hubbard tweeting that Gammy’s point about letting Olivia Jade on the show is “100 percent correct,” and many others weighing in.
Jada’s mom is 100% correct. I refuse to watch the full interview. Right now a BW is in jail for using a different address to get her kid in a better school district. I would amplify the episode shining a light on *that* issue. Olivia Jade will be fine. #redtabletalk https://t.co/GmN8fGwFSp
— Shanita Hubbard (@msshanitarenee) December 8, 2020
Jada equating the stereotypes that black women are given to Olivia jade being called privilege are not equivalent. Olivia Jade wanting to go to a top25 school just to party and then flipping off news sources after being caught in this scandal is the epitome of white privilege pic.twitter.com/mgW7J57T3Q
— black women enthusiast (@itssydneyjael) December 8, 2020
Does anyone really care about this story of white privledge, Jada? #OliviaJade participated in this scam & got away with it & her parents got a slap on the wrist. I think of the thousands of Black people in prison for things they either didn’t even do or far less than this. pic.twitter.com/W5YnWErl19
— ThatGirlAtTheParty (@tgatp) December 8, 2020
Olivia Jade: I wanted to tell my story on Red Table Talk because I knew I would be understood. I watch the show and this space feels safe.
— Jai (@jaidanielle) December 8, 2020
It’s insane that #oliviajade parents are serving 60 days in prison for fraud while there is a black women rotting in prison for sending her child to the wrong district strictly for the sake of having a better education.
— 💌 (@theezilee) December 9, 2020
I’m with Gams on this one. Olivia Jade was smart enough to know she wasn’t smart enough to be at that school. She’s looking for a safe harbor, which black women have provided time and time again. Somebody point out the safe harbors provided by white women.
— SoujournerDaTruth (@Bukalove04) December 8, 2020
The caucasity of Olivia Jade is strong as she moseys to the Red Table. Olivia Jade, I don’t care anything about your redemption story because “black women” fail to get the same privileges afforded to them. I don’t think you deserved a spot at the table. #RedTableTalk #OliviaJade
— Dr. Candice N. Hale (@candygirl82) December 8, 2020
Jada and these false equivalencies… lol. The excuses she’s making for this girl are so tired. I totally agree with Gammy! The fact that Olivia Jade sought out three black women to absolve her of responsibility *is* an extension of her privilege.
— kelechi (@heykelechi) December 9, 2020
I am with Jada’s mom here, no matter what, Olivia Jade would be very fine without needing the cushion of Black women helping her tell her story. https://t.co/XM8ADliKaq
— ✨Doreen✨ (@DoreenGLM) December 8, 2020
Overall, Black women were not moved by Olivia Jade’s attempts at an apology and Gammy may have best summed up their sentiments when she said, “I fought it tooth and nail. I just found it really ironic that she chose three Black women to reach out to for her redemption story…It’s not our responsibility to raise her consciousness.”
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