College Admissions Scandal Unmasks Hollywood Hypocrisy

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College Admissions Scandal Unmasks Hollywood Hypocrisy
AP Photo/Steven Senne
College Admissions Scandal Unmasks Hollywood Hypocrisy
AP Photo/Steven Senne
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This week’s announcement of the extraordinary college admissions scandal — dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues” by the FBI officials who have been working on the investigation for years — was met by an equally extraordinary (and unique) silence from Hollywood.

It’s not surprising.  The scandal has unmasked the entertainment capital’s liberalism as nothing before.  The word hypocrisy only begins to encompass it.  What we have before us is nothing less than child abuse -- by the very people who, while exhibiting contempt for the great unwashed in “flyover country,” pontificate endlessly about every liberal cause known to woman or man.

Nevertheless, cheating to get their kids into college is okay.

Oscar nominee Felicity Huffman (“Transamerica”) paid -- in the form of a phony charitable contribution -- to have someone doctor the answers on her daughter’s SATs.  (The score went up a staggering 400 points.)  TV star Lori Loughlin (“Full House”) and her husband ponied up an astonishing $500,000 to obtain University of Southern California admissions for their daughters.  This was done by making it appear on their applications that the girls were crew team stalwarts when they had barely picked up an oar. 

Huffman and Loughlin are now out on bail. Dozens of others have been swept up by this metastasizing scandal, a number of them also media or sports personalities.  An estimated $25 million in bribes have been paid.

What made these people, among the most privileged in our society, act this way?  Did they not think that they were either teaching their children to lie or, almost as bad, plunging them into situations where they were doomed to fail? Or were they relying on the current spate of grade inflation to save the day for their underqualified offspring?

Whatever the case, what accounts for this particularly repellent version of do what I say, not as I do? Is it just an insatiable desire for status by an insecure community, this time on the backs of their children?

Unfortunately, it’s more. In my book “Turning Right at Hollywood and Vine: The Perils of Coming Out Conservative in Tinseltown,” I likened the approach to social and political issues in Hollywood to the “mini-me” in an Austin Powers movie.  The mini-me’s task is to make the most extreme liberal pronouncements in public on virtually any subject, virtue-signaling to its heart’s content, so it can be loved by all the world.  Meanwhile, the “real me” gets to be as selfish as he or she wishes in private, demanding ever more money and power.

Hollywood is rampant with this excessive public moral posturing, which disguises often equally excessive private amorality or even immorality. The biggest liberal or progressive stars are frequently the most avaricious and nasty people in their personal lives.  It’s a form of split personality cum self-hypnosis that has been employed successfully by the entertainment industry for some time, but the college admissions scandal is bringing it unpleasantly to the surface, as did the recent #MeToo controversy.

Hollywood, however, is far from alone in deserving blame for the admissions scandal.  Although the FBI has not taken legal action against the colleges involved, they should be considered at minimum unindicted co-conspirators.  Our universities have come under increasing criticism of late for political bias — in one study, only 39 percent of colleges had even one Republican professor — suppression of freedom of speech, and their own covert form of racial discrimination. Asian-Americans, with justification, are currently suing Harvard for admissions bias against them. 

These days our colleges seem as much, if not more, bent on social engineering as they are on education.  This encourages many students to compete in what is, in essence, a victimhood derby under the trendy rubric of intersectionality.  Besides being a waste of educational time and money, this does not augur well for the future of our country. 

What we have in the college admissions scandal is corrupt people applying for an already corrupted system.  If the attention that glamorous Hollywood usually attracts brings more attention to this problem, it is all to the good.  And if it helps to begin to solve it, better yet.  Then we can once more say as we have in the past, although this time somewhat ironically, “Hooray for Hollywood!”

Roger L. Simon, co-founder and CEO emeritus of PJ Media, is an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter.



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