“Dancing with the Stars” host Tyra Banks is speaking out in defense of the show after it was announced that Olivia Jade will compete on the latest season following her involvement in the college admissions scandal.
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, the host and executive producer of the show defended the decision to let the daughter of Lori Loughlin compete in Season 30 after she faced immense controversy in 2019 when it was revealed that her parents paid large sums of money to get her and her sister into the college of their choice.
“I think Olivia is so brave. I think people don’t know her, they know what happened to her,” Banks told the outlet. “She has said that she did not know about what was going on and it’s really sad, and it’s very hurtful when something publicly happens but you had nothing to do with it. So I trust that she says she didn’t know.”
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In December, Loughlin finished serving two months behind bars for her role in the scandal. Loughlin agreed to serve two months and pay a $150,000 fine along with two years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service. Her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, meanwhile, was ordered to pay a $250,000 fine with two years of supervised release and 250 hours of community service in addition to a five-month prison sentence. He got out of prison in April.
“She is having to deal with that and I think she’s coming to ‘Dancing With the Stars’ to be able to tell her story and show her vulnerability,” Banks continued. “And is she a celebrity? Not traditionally, but what is a celebrity today? If that’s the case then there’s no Instagram influencer that is a celebrity. We are in a whole different world and celebrity has taken a turn and a change.”
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Banks added: “If people are talking about you, you’re famous. And you can be on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’”
Olivia Jade previously broke her silence on the matter during an appearance on the Facebook Watch series “Red Table Talk” in which she apologized for her family’s actions but noted that she believes she deserves a second chance.
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“I think that what hasn’t been super public is that there is no justifying or excusing what happened because what happened was wrong. And I think every single person in my family can be like, ‘That was messed up. That was a big mistake,’” she said at the time. “But I think what’s so important to me is to learn from the mistake, not to now be shamed and punished and never given a second chance because I’m 21. I feel like I deserve a second chance to redeem myself, to show I’ve grown.”
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“I’m not trying to victimize myself. I don’t want pity. I don’t deserve pity. We messed up. I just want a second chance to be like I recognize I messed up. And for so long I wasn’t able to talk about this because of the legalities behind it. I never got to say I’m really sorry that this happened or I really own that this was a big mess-up on everybody’s part. But I think everybody feels that way in my family right now,” Olivia added later in the interview.