The drama surrounding the massive college bribery scandal known as Operation Varsity Blues, which the Justice Department has said is the largest of its kind ever prosecuted, seems to have only just begun. So far, nearly 50 people have been charged, including the actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, who’ve been accused of paying college officials $500,000 to admit their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose, to the University of Southern California as recruits to the school’s crew team. (Never mind that neither of them actually participated in the sport.)
Comparatively, that $500,000 is pocket change: Others have been accused of paying up to $6 million in exchange for their children’s admission to schools like Yale and Stanford. Still, Loughlin and Giannulli are currently very publicly facing the consequences—as is the older of their two daughters, 19-year-old Olivia Jade. Giannulli was arrested and is now out on bail, and Loughlin surrendered to federal agents on Wednesday, after returning to Los Angeles from Vancouver, where she’d been filming. As for their daughter? She was also quite a ways away from L.A. when she learned of the news. In fact, she was enjoying her spring break with her younger sister, Isabella Rose, in the Bahamas, aboard a yacht owned by her friend’s dad, Rick Caruso, who just so happens to be the chairman of USC’s board of trustees.
Needless to say, the news quickly killed the mood onboard. “My daughter and a group of students left for spring break prior to the government’s announcement yesterday. Once we became aware of the investigation, the young woman decided it would be in her best interests to return home,” Rick Caruso told TMZ. Olivia Jade did, apparently, manage to spend the night aboard the yacht while her mom was on her way to turn herself in.
So far, there’s been no mention of Olivia Jade facing legal action herself, though USC has not commented on her future at the school. In a “real, real personal” video titled “basically all the tea you need to know about me (boys, college, youtubers)” that she posted this summer, the freshman and prolific vlogger, who’s partnered with companies like Sephora and Amazon Prime, openly confessed that she didn’t know “how much of school [she was] gonna attend,” detailing her plans to head to Fiji for a photo shoot during the first week of classes. “I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know,” she continued. “But I’m gonna go in and talk to my deans and everyone, and hope that I can try and balance it all. But I do want the experience of like game days, partying.”
Needless to say, the comments section of her YouTube account, which has nearly 2 million subscribers—not to mention her Instagram, which has 1.4 million followers—is not a pretty sight. Nor are the replies to a handful of previous posts on her Twitter account, which has 189,000 followers, a significant number of whom have taken it upon themselves to make Olivia Jade experience the college rite of passage of being bullied.
Despite the yacht news, Caruso seems to be doing just fine. He apparently won’t be involved in determining whether or not Olivia Jade will be allowed to stay at USC, a decision that TMZ reports is up to the university’s president. Unsurprisingly, he hasn’t refrained from denouncing the “disturbing” scandal and the alleged behavior of his co-workers, who he said have since been fired, from the sidelines. “I am saddened that these people would abuse their positions of trust and, as the government has alleged, victimize USC in the process,” he said. “There is no option other than zero tolerance for this type of behavior.”
Safe to say, Olivia Jade is no longer sunning on his luxury watercraft. According to Variety, she’s been keeping busy negotiating with Amazon, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Sephora, Smashbox Beauty Cosmetics, Tresemmé, and more companies that have brought their deals with the 19-year-old to an end.