Jada Pinkett Smith's Mom Gets Stern with Olivia Jade Giannulli About White Privilege: 'Child, Please'
The 21-year-old Instagram influencer spoke out for the first time on the Facebook Watch show regarding the arrests of her parents Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, for their involvement in last year's high-profile college admissions scandal.
Host Jada Pinkett Smith revealed at the beginning of the episode that Olivia had called her and "wanted to come to our table." The actress added she, her mother Banfield-Norris, and her daughter, Willow Smith "all had very different feelings about it."
"I fought it tooth and nail," Banfield-Norris, 67, admitted. "I just found it really ironic that she chose three Black women to reach out to for her redemption story. I feel like here we are, [a] white woman coming to Black women for support when we don't get the same from them."
She added, "Her being here is the epitome of white privilege to me."
Pinkett Smith replied, "I understand where you’re coming from but let me just be clear: I never want to be the thing that was done to me by white women."
As Olivia walked out, the group delved into discussing her parents' arrests and subsequent jail time. (Both Loughlin and Giannulli are currently serving time in prison.)
"Let me ask you if you have a clear understanding of what white privilege really is, now," Banfield-Norris asked Olivia, who said she did, adding she took her life "for granted."
"It was a big shift in my head knowing, 'OK, let's start recognizing where the wrongs are in that,'" Olivia said.
Banfield-Norris asked the influencer, "Do you understand why different people in the community would be upset? Do you have any understanding of why I would be upset at your being here and what you all did and the harm that it caused?"
"I would also love to hear it from you. I feel like it’s a good learning thing," Olivia said. "We had the means to do something and we completely took it and ran with it. It really cannot be excused, on paper it’s bad."
She added she knew her parents' involvement in the scandal was because they wanted to help her and her sister, Isabella Rose, 22.
"I think they thought it was normal," Olivia said. "I didn’t come on here to try and win people over. I just want to apologize for contributing to these social inequalities even though I didn’t realize it at the time. Being able to come here and recognize that I am aware."
Banfield-Norris discussed the effect of the scandal on the Black community, telling Olivia, "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. There is so much devastation, particularly this year, 2020, with the pandemic and everything brought to the table about how there is so much inequality and inequity, that when you come to the table with something like this, it’s like, 'Child, please.'"
"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," she continued. "Because at the end of the day, you’re going to be OK. Because your parents are going to go in and they’re going to do their 60 days and they’re going to pay their fine, and you guys are going to go on and be OK and you will live your life. And there’s so many of us that it’s not going to be that situation. It just makes it very difficult right now for me to care in this atmosphere that we’re in right now."
She added "A year from now I might feel differently, but right now in the atmosphere that the world is in it’s very difficult for me to feel compassion for you. And I shouldn’t say 'about you' because I don't want you to take it that personally. It’s not really about you."
"But this is why I am glad because what I am hearing from you is that there’s an interest and a desire to learn and figure out where you fit into the world and what your role is to make a difference," Banfield-Norris said.
Loughlin reported to prison on October 30. She will serve a two-month sentence at FCI-Dublin in Northern California.
A legal source told PEOPLE at the time the former Full House star “hopes to be home by Christmas, but she’ll definitely be home by New Year’s.”
“She had everything in order, so she decided a couple of days ago to report to prison,” the source said. “She put this behind her as she goes into 2021.”
Giannulli was booked into a federal prison in Lompoc, near Santa Barbara, California, on Nov. 15. He will serve a five-month sentence and will likely be released near the end of April.