Lori Loughlin Pleads Not Guilty in College Admissions Scandal

Both Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, have plead not guilty to the charges regarding their involvement in the college admissions scandal from earlier this year. On March 12, Loughlin, Giannulli, and Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman were among a group of individuals that were all indicted in the nation’s largest college admissions scam. It was reported that the couple paid half a million dollars to USC in order for their daughter to be granted admittance to the university.

Tacked on to the previous charge of mail fraud, a second charge for money laundering was later filed for those involved who did not enter guilty pleas. Loughlin was among those who received the second charge, and is looking at up to 20 years in prison for each charge. The second charge was part of the prosecution’s aim to put pressure on the defendants to plead guilty, termed the “carrot and stick” approach.

Related: What To Expect From Fuller House Season 5

Loughlin and Giannulli remained tight-lipped about the indictments, until now. According to Variety, both Loughlin and Giannulli are, “pleading not guilty in the college admission bribery scandal.” This is the first response that the couple has shown in regard to the case. The two were, “among 33 charged in the widespread scam,” but are of a small group that decided to plead not guilty to both charges of fraud and money laundering. Huffman and, “a dozen other parents will plead guilty in the scam,” and will be facing the low end on the sentencing range without any additional charges.

No other announcements have been made about where the courts will go from here, but the nationwide scam has already hindered Loughlin’s career. Netflix and Hallmark were quick to respond to the accusations surrounding the actress, as she was promptly fired from both networks. A few of her co-stars, surprisingly, have remained by her side through the ongoing case. One in particular was her Full House and Fuller House co-star, Candace Cameron-Bure, who stated that she views the actress as family, which makes sense since she grew up working alongside Loughlin on the family-friendly sitcom. Not only that, but Loughlin’s daughter is currently on an academic hold at USC until all students involved in the scam have been individually reviewed.

Hearing Loughlin and Giannulli’s plea is a shocking and interesting turn of events. Considering the prosecution’s decision to add additional charges as a way of convincing those accused to enter guilty pleas, it doesn’t seem like they’ll back down in regards to Loughlin’s decision anytime soon. The guilty plea means that both her and her husband are ready for a fight, even if the odds aren’t in their favor. She appears unfazed by the ripple effect of repercussions, namely what will happen to her daughter’s education. Perhaps the sudden, and immediate, loss of jobs alongside the additional charge has numbed her to the case and the possibility of jail time. Regardless, with evidence piling up against Loughlin and her husband, it’s only a matter of time before the actress ends up in deeper water… or worse, behind bars.

Next: Why Michelle Tanner Still Isn’t In Fuller House

Source: Variety

2019-04-15 12:04:41

Hannah Hoolihan

Fan Bingbing Returns to Acting After Tax Evasion Scandal

Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing returns to acting after a tax evasion scandal. Last June, allegations were made that Bingbing underreported her acting income, which prompted a months-long disappearance and approximate $127 million fine from Chinese authorities. Bingbing is now set to co-star in the new action film 355 with Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, and Lupita Nyong’o. The film will be helmed by Dark Phoenix director Simon Kinberg.

In mainstream North American pop culture, Bingbing is perhaps best known for portraying Clarice Ferguson aka Blink in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Throughout the 21st century, however, Bingbing has been one of China’s major stars. In 2002, she delivered a breakthrough performance in Fall in Love at First Sight, and received numerous accolades for her performance in the 2004 film Cell Phone. By 2011, Bingbing’s international profile increased when she starred in the French film Stretch, along with the Korean film My Way. Meanwhile, she recorded various singles during the first decade of her career, usually for her film’s official theme songs. In the years leading up to the tax evasion scandal, Bingbing was consistently China’s highest-paid actress, and recently starred in the Chinese comedy I Am Not Madame Bovary, for which she won Best Actress at the 11th Asian Film Awards.

Related: Bohemian Rhapsody: China Removes All References to Freddie Mercury’s Sexuality

Per Variety, Bingbing will resume her acting career with the action blockbuster 355. The film will reportedly begin filming this year, however it appears that the production has lost the financial support of China’s Huayi Brothers Media. As Variety notes, this could be for different reasons, however it’s clear that Bingbing may have to pursue more roles outside of her native China given the ongoing controversy surrounding her tax evasion scandal. The film 355 is described as a spy movie, and was written by Theresa Rebeck. Given the names attached, 355 has the potential to be an international sensation. 

At the moment, 355’s director, the aforementioned Kinberg, isn’t necessary a household name. But that may change upon the release of his film Dark Phoenix. The latest X-Men franchise film stars Sophie Turner, among other big names, who portrays Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones. The final season of HBO’s groundbreaking series will air through April and May, leading up to the June release of Dark Phoenix. If the X-Men film does well financially, then Kinberg’s 355 project will receive even more hype, as Cotillard, Cruz, and Nyong’o have all won Academy Awards. Meanwhile, Chastain has been nominated for two Academy Awards, and will star opposite Turner in Dark Phoenix. 

While the collective cast for 355 is exciting and impressive, it may be hard to fathom that Bingbing is arguably the most famous actress of the entire group. As the Chinese film industry continues to rapidly evolve with major blockbuster hits, it will be interesting to see whether Bingbing manages to sustain a career in her native country, or whether she’ll reach a new level of fame by collaborating with major Hollywood figures. For now, 355 represents a big power move, along with a strong first step back into the movie business.

More: You Haven’t Seen 2019’s Highest Grossing Movie

Source: Variety

2019-04-11 08:04:09

Q.V. Hough

Felicity Huffman To Plead Guilty In College Admissions Scandal

Felicity Huffman is expected to plead guilty over the college admissions bribery case that broke last month. The Desperate Housewives actress was among the dozens charged by the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the scandal that involved the parents either faking athletic records or cheating their SAT scores to get their children to high profile universities such as Yale, Georgetown and the University of Southern California. According to the charges, Huffman allegedly paid $15,000 to a fixer, William Singer of Key Worldwide Foundation, who arranged a fake person take the SAT in lieu of her daughter, resulting to getting better scores from her Preliminary SAT.

Charged with with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud, Huffman is currently out on bail amounting to $250,000. Husband Shameless actor, William H. Macy has not been indicted with the same offense, although it does seem like he’s aware of his wife’s illegal dealings to cheat on their daughter’s SAT scores and was on board for the scheme. According to documents, Huffman and Macy’s daughter got a 1420 score on the test, a 400 point increase from her PSAT. As it turns out, they also initially discussed going through the same route for their younger daughter, but didn’t push through it.

Related: Fuller House Star Stands by Lori Loughlin Despite College Scandal

In an official statement obtained by Variety, Huffman admitted to partaking on the cheating scheme and says she’s shameful of her actions. She also claims that her daughter was not aware of the deal she made with Singer. With this, she, alongside 13 other people who are in on the ploy are set to plead guilty. Read her statement below:

“I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions. I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community. I want to apologize to them and, especially, I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.

“My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her. This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life. My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty.”

Considering Huffman’s admission, prosecutors agreed to recommend a prison term at the lower end of the bracket, lasting from four to 10 months under federal sentencing guidelines as part of the plea deal. She has also agreed to pay a $20,000 fine and restitution. For context, those who were charged could be looking at a potential maximum sentence of five years behind bars, but their time in prison and probation primarily hinge on their cooperation in the ongoing case. And since Huffman’s expected to plead guilty, her proposed jail time is more likely plausible.

While Huffman is making steps to ensure that she’ll get a lighter sentencing regarding her involvement in this scandal, former Fuller House actress Lori Loughlin’s camp remains silent on the matter. The Hallmark Channel staple and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, reportedly paid half a million dollars to get their two kids into USC. Basing on amount of money the Gianullis paid to get in on the scheme, not to mention the fact that they used the illegal process for both of their daughters, it’s curious if that will make any difference with regard to their sentence. As fans wait for any any development from their end, Aunt Becky, unfortunately, won’t appear in the fifth and final season of the Full House spinoff after Netlfix fired her.

More: Fuller House’s Lori Loughlin Expected to Do Prison Time Over College Scandal

Source: Variety

2019-04-09 06:04:48

Ana Dumaraog

Fuller House’s Lori Loughlin Expected to Do Prison Time Over College Scandal

Lori Loughlin may serve jail time over her involvement in the massive college admissions bribery case that broke last month. The former Fuller House star and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli reportedly paid half a million dollars to get their two kids into USC either by faking athletic records or cheating their SAT scores. Desperate Housewives actress Felicity Huffman is also embroiled in the cast with William H. Macy’s wife supposedly doling out $250,000 to get in on the same scheme.

A staple of the Hallmark Channel’s annual Christmas TV movies, Loughlin was also starring in its ongoing series, When Calls the Heart. But the actress first shot to fame playing the love interest of John Stamos’ Uncle Jesse in the ’80s/’90s classic family sitcom Full House, Aunt Becky. When the spinoff was officially ordered by Netflix followed by its debut on 2016, she reprised the role in its past four seasons. But since this scandal broke out, both Hallmark and Netflix dropped her in their respective shows. This means that Fuller House‘s upcoming fifth and final season will not see the return of Aunt Becky.

Related: What To Expect From Fuller House Season 5

Now, things seems to only get worse for Loughlin as she may need to serve time in prison. According to a new report from Deadline, “the actors are more than likely looking at a penalty of somewhere around six months to just under two years behind bars.” The actress and others who are in on the scam are being charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud with a potential maximum sentence of five years. Their time behind bars, as well as probation and fines however, will be based on their cooperation in the ongoing litigation.

Despite no longer a part of the cast of Fuller House, Loughlin’s castmates, particularly Candace Cameron-Bure (DJ) and Jodie Sweeting (Stephanie) stand by the actress as they revealed in a recent interview. While they refused to comment further on the matter, they made it clear that they’re “family, and we stand by each other.” Considering that they’ve known Loughlin since they’re kids, it’s understandable that it would be difficult for them to simply write her off. Whether or not they were aware about Loughlin’s wrongdoings is a different conversation, however. At this point, the best they can do is be mum about the specifics of the case.

Assuming that Loughlin and her co-conspirators are proven guilty, the most important thing here is to not let them get away scot-free, and that doesn’t include paying fines, regardless of the amount. These people are obviously very wealthy that they can buy their kids’ way into prestigious schools, any monetary penalty wouldn’t matter that much. Regardless of the time she potentially serves in prison, what matters most is that they’re accounted for their wrongdoings so as to also serve an example for those who may be thinking of doing the same thing.

More: John Stamos Gets Angry At Netflix For Fuller House “Cancellation” On April Fools

Fuller House fifth and final season will premiere on Netflix this fall.

Source: Deadline

2019-04-05 05:04:06

Ana Dumaraog

Scandal: The 5 Best (And 5 Worst) Couples

Shondaland shows have always been known for their soapiness, their addictive and guilty pleasure nature. But when Scandal first premiered mid season in 2012, it totally changed the Shondaland game, introducing viewers to a world so far removed from the reality of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, it’s almost unthinkable to imagine that these represent the same creative world.

RELATED: 15 Things About Scandal That Make No Sense

At the heart of Scandal – and the inspiration for its very title, at that – was a simple premise: a political fixer, unable to fix her own problems, falls in love with the married President of the United States. Scandal was a twisty, turny ride of a series – one that was unfortunately bad more often than it was good. But it was always the story of Olivia Pope, the best of the best in the fierce world of political animals, and the many damaged people who revolved around her.

And as is always true of Shondaland, the series’ damaged characters were always drawn to each other, in romantic pairings ranging from ill-advised to addictive, semi-normal to beyond disturbing. We take a look at the best and worst of them.

10 Best: James and Cyrus

Once upon a time, Cyrus Beane and James Novak were a happily married couple. Though Cyrus struggled with his sexuality for a long time, as a deeply conservative and incredibly public figure, he would eventually come around to being open and comfortable enough with his identity as a gay man to marry the love of his life, intrepid reporter James Novak. The duo would even go on to adopt an adorable young baby girl, Ella Novak Beane.

But, in the world of Scandal, these picture-perfect families are always complicated, and never given a real chance. James’s role as an investigative journalist always stood in direct conflict with Cyrus’s role as Chief of Staff to President Fitzgerald Grant – especially when James began to uncover secrets that would compromise Cyrus’s entire career. Cyrus would indirectly in turn be responsible for James’s savage murder at the hands of assassin Jake Ballard. But once upon a time, before they entered the public sphere, these two almost stood a chance.

9 Worst: Fitz and Mellie

Nothing says true, lasting love like a politically arranged marriage of convenience between two people who can’t stand each other and actually take pleasure from hurting one another whenever they can. Fitz and Mellie were presented as the perfect President and First Lady in the beginning of the series, but as scandals were unveiled and layers peeled back through flashbacks, it became clearer just how incredibly toxic these two were.

Whether it involved Mellie faking a miscarriage in order to garner sympathy votes, or inducing labor to force Fitz to stay with her; or Fitz cheating on Mellie for years and years, with someone she had once trusted, it was clear that these two were never meant to be together. It’s just a shame that the series took so long to realize it, too.

8 Best: Abby and Stephen

Darby Stanchfield’s Abby Whelan is arguably one of the most interesting characters in the entire series. A survivor of an abusive marriage, Abby is a cutthroat lawyer, with a big heart and an even bigger wit. When she was first introduced in season 1, it was clear that she was in love with one of her coworkers – Henry Ian Cusick’s Stephen Finch. Stephen, at the time, was in a relationship, but not entirely committed to it.

The two exchanged the occasional flirtation, words of fond taunting, and a little too much personal space invasion for them to have been considered just coworkers. But before anything could happen between them, Stephen was written out of the series at the start of season 2, following Cusick’s departure. These two could have been something really special, but now, we’ll never know.

7 Worst: Olivia and Edison

In the world of Scandal, one of the worst things you can be is… well, boring. Normal is overrated, in a world filled with characters who will do whatever it takes to survive and rise among the ranks of the cutthroat political scene. When Olivia Pope reunited with her past lover, Edison Davis, it was clear that she was struggling to accept the reality of the life she had now made for herself.

RELATED: Scandal: Olivia Pope’s 10 Most Badass Moments

Edison represented a past when Olivia’s life was safer – when she didn’t know that her world was just as ugly as it truly is. But, with that said, Edison was incredibly, deeply boring. Olivia said it herself when she told him that, when it came to a relationship, she wanted “painful, difficult, devastating, life-changing, extraordinary love.” Olivia wanted the kind of soapy romance that Shondaland has perfected. And that was something she would never get with Edison.

6 Best: Mellie and Marcus

It took all the way until the fifth and sixth seasons for former First Lady and eventual President Mellie Grant to finally find happiness with someone who loved her. But by the time she did, she couldn’t have chosen a better man to be with. Marcus Walker was a late addition to the series, but he would ultimately prove to be one of the very best. A strong addition to Olivia’s team at Olivia Pope & Associates, Marcus would come to be involved on Mellie’s presidential campaign – and take an immediate disliking to the future female President.

As with almost any relationship that starts off with mutual dislike on television, Marcus and Mellie would soon fall for one another and begin a relationship that took many twists and turns before finally reaching a point where they could be together. If the flash-forward at the end of the series finale is anything to go by, Marcus very well may be the First Gentleman to President Mellie Grant. And they lived happily ever after – by Scandal standards, at least.

5 Worst: Huck and Quinn

Sometimes, a show can have a relationship that is absolutely wonderful, and meaningful, and a pleasure to watch – and then overplay their hand, and totally ruin it as a result. Take, for example, the bond developed in early seasons between Huck and Quinn Perkins. Dubbed Huckleberry Quinn by social media fans, the pair became as thick as thieves as former assassin Huck took the lost bird Quinn under his wing.

RELATED: 8 Couples That Hurt Shondaland Shows (And 7 That Saved Them)

And then, all of a sudden, the show decided their relationship needed to become romantic. But rather than go about it in any conventional way, their so-called romance would come to involve abduction, torture, body horror, licking each other’s faces, and more things that are best left unexplored. We don’t know why the show went this way, but what we do know is that it seriously ruined two of the show’s once most enjoyable characters as a result.

4 Best: Charlie and Quinn

While Huck and Quinn may just be one of the worst choices the show ever made in the romance department, Scandal really rebounded when it decided to pair Quinn with high ranking B613 killer, Charlie. By that point, Quinn had already established herself as something of an expert in the B613 arena, a fearsome killer in her own right. And yet, as soon as Charlie and Quinn set foot around each other, the hardboiled nature of their characters just melted away.

Hard as it may be to believe, Quinn and Charlie’s relationship is about as close to normal as Scandal ever allows its main couples to get – whether it’s Charlie affectionately calling her the Robin to his Batman, or Quinn’s eventual pregnancy, or their sweet, spur of the moment marriage in the series finale.

3 Worst: Andrew and Mellie

When Jon Tenney’s Andrew Nichols was introduced in the back half of season three as someone with whom Mellie shared a secret, unconsummated history, it seemed like the show was finally setting up for a future in which Mellie could find some happiness, and the toxic marriage between Fitz and Mellie would come to an end at last. Andrew and Mellie began a passionate affair when reunited in the present, and though it quickly became common knowledge among those closest to them, that didn’t deter their feelings for each other in the slightest.

What did put a little bit of a damper on the whole relationship, however, was the fact that Andrew turned out to be a total, power hungry, kidnapping orchestrating sociopath. Determined to force Fitz’s hand and provoke a war, Andrew was responsible for the violent kidnapping and torture of Olivia Pope. That his relationship with Mellie was never revisited again after that point was certainly for the best.

2 Best: Fitz and Olivia

Could any other couple have possibly ranked as the best of the best on this show? For better or worse, Scandal was a series that chronicled not only the life of political fixer Olivia Pope, but also her ongoing, everlasting, intense affair and romance with President Fitzgerald Grant. While timing may never have been their strong suit, from the moment Fitz and Olivia first met, it was clear that there would never, ever really be anyone else for either of them.

It took them a long time, and a lot of pain, before they finally got to a point where they could be together openly. And even then, countless mistakes and lies would interfere, causing them to break up and spend time apart. But when the series finale ended, it was with these two characters greeting each other with their signature “Hi,” signaling a brand new start for the both of them – and the potential of a life together, unburdened by all they had done during the series’ run. If any two characters deserved as much, it would most definitely be them.

1 Worst: Jake and Olivia

In the world of Scandal, there are some pretty screwed up stories that the series tries to pass off as being representative of love. But arguably the most screwed up of them all is whatever sick love story the show thought it was telling between Olivia Pope and eventual spy agency B613 head Jake Ballard. Jake was originally introduced in the series to spy on Olivia, to ensure her safety, only to wind up preying upon that secret advantage, monitoring her every move and seducing her.

What followed was seasons upon seasons of violent interactions – on one instance, he knocked her out and sent her to the hospital; and in another case, he nearly choked her out with his bare hands. Making matters even ickier is Jake’s closeness to Olivia’s own father, Rowan – a known sociopath who referred to Jake as the son he never had. We’re really not sure what sort of message Scandal intended to send with this dynamic, especially by dragging its romantic potential all the way out until the series finale.

NEXT: Every Major Grey’s Anatomy Couple Ranked

2019-04-05 01:04:46

Katerina Daley

Lori Loughlin Won’t Return to Fuller House After Scandal

Embattled actress Lori Loughlin will not be returning for Fuller House‘s upcoming fifth and final season. After playing Aunt Becky in the ’80s/’90s family-oriented sitcom Full House and then reprising the role in the revival, Loughlin is currently facing charges in light of the massive college admissions bribery case that broke earlier this week.

Loughlin and husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli were among 50 people indicted with regard to said scam, which involved them paying bribes to get their kids accepted at high-profile schools such as the University of Southern California (USC), Stanford, and Yale. Apparently, the couple paid half a million dollars to have their two daughters get accepted into USC. Aside from the Giannulllis, Desperate Housewives actress and wife to Shameless star William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, is also embroiled in the scandal. Loughlin was taken into custody on Wednesday, but is now currently out on bail. Despite this, it doesn’t seem like there’s much of her career left, as she’s getting dropped from projects that she had lined-up, including her most memorable role.

Related: Fuller House: Stephanie’s Baby Can Lead To A Better Season 5

THR is reporting that Netflix is not bringing back Loughlin for Fuller House season 5 which will debut this fall. Filming has yet to start, but the actress’ legal issues won’t have an impact on the production schedule. The streaming giant and producer Warner Horizon Television have declined to comment at this point. This news comes on the heels of the Hallmark channel ending its working relationship with the actress and removing her from the ongoing series, When Calls the Heart.

The question now is: how can Aunt Becky be written out of the show – or, at least, how can her absence be explained? With Fuller House preparing to wrap things up, chances are that the veteran cast will be more prominently featured in the upcoming season to further evoke nostalgia from fans. At the end of season 4, Danny (Bob Saget), Joey (Dave Coulier), Jesse (John Stamos), and Rebecca all moved back to San Francisco to be closer to the family. Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) having her own baby will be enough reason for them to hang around the house more. Considering that Rebecca is not only married to Jesse, she’s also back working with Danny co-hosting the revival of Wake up San Francisco, it will be interesting to see how Becky’s absence is accounted for.

Like the older cast of Saget, Coulier, and Stamos, Loughlin only plays a recurring role in Fuller House, with the narrative focus more on the Tanner sisters, DJ (Candace Cameron Bure) and Stephanie, along with their eccentric friend Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber). So, while it’ll be odd not seeing Aunt Becky on the show (especially in its final season), there are definitely ways to explain her absence. Since the show doesn’t shy away from subtly breaking away from the fourth wall from time-to-time, it’s possible that Loughlin’s real-life scandal will even be referenced in some way. Either way you cut it, Fuller House is going to a little less, well, full in its final season.

More: What To Expect From Fuller House Season 5

Source: THR

2019-03-16 07:03:29

Ana Dumaraog