Felicity Huffman is finally speaking out about her role in the college admissions scandal. The 60-year-old actress/ex-con sat down for an interview with ABC7 Eyewitness News, her first since her arrest back in 2019.
In 2017, Felicity paid Rick Singer $15,000 to falsify her daughter’s SAT scores. Two years later, she was among the dozens of rich and famous parents (including Lori Loughlin, aka Aunt Becky) arrested and charged as part of an investigation referred to as “Operation Varsity Blues”. Felicity pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. She was sentenced to 14 days in jail (she ended up serving 11), fined $30,000, and ordered to do 250 hours of community service.
In the interview, Felicity reveals she got involved with Rick Singer’s criminal conspiracy about a year into using his services as a “college counselor”:
“He started to say, ‘Your daughter’s not gonna get into any of the colleges she wants to.’ And I believed him. So when he slowly started to present the criminal scheme, it seemed like, and I know this seems crazy at the time, that that was my only option to give my daughter a future.
And I know hindsight is 20/20, but I felt like I would be a bad mother if I didn’t do it. So… I did it.”
She says: “I felt I had to give my daughter a chance at a future. Um, and, so it was sort of like… my daughter’s future. Which meant I had to break the law.” Felicity Huffman’s daughter: so bad at getting into college, her mom resorted to felony conspiracy.
Felicity remembers driving her daughter (who wasn’t aware of the scam) to take the SATs:
“She was going, ‘Can we get ice cream afterwards? I’m scared about the test. What can we do that’s fun?’ And I kept thinking, ‘Turn around, just turn around.’ To my undying shame, I didn’t.”
Months later, Felicity was arrested by the FBI:
“They came into my home. They woke my daughters up, at gunpoint - again, nothing new to the Black and brown community.”
Um, yes, Felicity, that’s true, but what does that have to do with your role in one of the whitest, most privileged criminal conspiracies in American history? Well, stay tuned! She continues:
“Then they put my hands behind my back and handcuffed me and I asked if I could get dressed and I thought it was a hoax. I literally turned to one of the FBI in a flak jacket and a gun, and I went, ‘Is this a joke?’”
Felicity says she owes “a debt and an apology” to the “academic community and the students and the families that sacrifice and work really hard to get to where they’re going legitimately.” She explains that she’s finally speaking so she can shine a light on the non-profit, A New Way of Life. They help formerly incarcerated women get back on their feet by providing housing, clothing, job training, and safety.
Felicity served her 250 community service hours at A New Way of Life. The organization’s founder, Susan Burton, came along to the interview to talk about her work and how great Felicity is. Susan says the actress “organized all of our closets and donations” and created exercise classes for the women. After Felicity’s 250 hours were up, she stayed on and joined the board of directors. Susan says:
“Felicity Huffman is one of the most beautiful people I’ve met in my lifetime. And I know that she’s had a hiccough. But it’s not the hiccough. It’s how you come through the hiccough.”
Listen, I’m sure Felicity’s done some great work for A New Way of Life, and I wouldn’t have known about the non-profit had she not brought it up in the interview. But it’s hard to not be cynical about her choice to bring Susan Burton along to sing her praises. Or her comparing her experience to Black and brown people.
The Felicity piece ends with interviewer Marc Brown informing viewers that Felicity’s daughter, Sophia Macy, ended up being turned down by every college she applied to during the scandal. Eventually, Sophia re-took the SATs and “earned her way into Carnegie-Mellon University, where she’s in the drama program.” According to her IMDb, Sophia’s appeared in an episode of The Twilight Zone reboot, dad William H. Macy’s show Shameless, and The Chair. She’s also set to appear in a movie called, Grizzly Night. Good for Sophia for earning her acting career the good, old-fashioned way: her last name!