Rich people, uh, “enable” their childrens’ path into selective colleges a number of ways: working alumni or administration connections, absurdly large donations, endowments, and many other intersections of money and power applied behind the scenes, with varying levels of discretion. But according to a filing from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the district of Massachusetts published today, they regularly stoop to a tactic that apparently works: Photoshopping their kids’ faces into photos of athletes doing sports, in hopes that they can be “recruited” by coaches at schools of their choice as a backdoor to admission.
According to the documents, the tactics of rich parents — including Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, in this case — are widely varied, and include having surrogates sit for standardized exams instead of their actual children. In some cases, the parents paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for these services. But the wildest tactic was “[bribing] coaches and university administrators to designate their children as recruited athletes… thereby facilitating admission to the Universities.”
“In some instances,” the filing says, the people employed to facilitate these alleged scams “helped fabricate athletic ‘profiles’ and other documents to bolster the students college applications by making them appear to be highly successful high school athletes when in fact they were not.” In several of the described cases, the children in question did not do the sports in question at all.
But as a supplement of proof, the parties that facilitated these applications would Photoshop pictures of the kids doing their supposed sports. Included in the documents are several conversations between parents and their co-conspirators discussing which sports to fake, and how to make the photos of the sports look not fake (“a photograph of his son purporting to play water polo, with his right arm and upper torso exposed above the water line… ‘Does this work?’… ‘Yes but a little high out of the water… no one gets that high.’”)
Man I am dying at the detail in this college admissions cheating scandal that they photoshopped the kids' faces onto actual athletes' bodies to submit pics to schools pic.twitter.com/gNEIjpsUA2— Molly Hensley-Clancy (@mollyhc) March 12, 2019
This is the Lori Loughlin section. (Crew has always been the best way to scam your way into fancy college.) pic.twitter.com/b3IWnvOw2k— Jack Dickey (@jackdickey) March 12, 2019
afdjokdas,fjdaslkfsdalkj pic.twitter.com/SyTcbeTRUd— Jack Dickey (@jackdickey) March 12, 2019
There are, regrettably, no supplemental images included in the filings of any of the rich kids Photoshopped into their rich-kid sports, which include crew, sailing, lacrosse, and water polo. Hopefully, some will emerge, but until then we have only our imaginations.
YouTube will always be my #1 passion. I promise I’d way rather be filming 24/7 than sitting in 6 hours of classes straight but an education is also super important to me so thank u for ur patience and letting me figure out time management . Ily bbs— Olivia Jade (@oliviajadee) February 6, 2019
After all this, it appears that at least some of the children involved don’t actually have any interest in school. Actress Lori Laughlin is named in the documents for throwing money at USC to admit her daughter, Olivia Jade Giannulli. Giannulli has been publicly criticized before for advertising her total lack of interest in the college her mother committed alleged crimes to get her into, save for the “game days” and “partying.” Giannulli, an avid YouTuber with a 1.3 million-strong Instagram following has gotten something out of college: a sponcon campaign for the student version of Amazon Prime.