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‘Lori played it badly’: Hollywood crisis manager says Lori Loughlin mishandled college admissions scandal

Longtime Hollywood crisis manager Howard Bragman recently told the Deseret News that Lori Loughlin didn’t play the scandal right.

In this Aug. 27, 2019 file photo, actress Lori Loughlin departs federal court in Boston after a hearing in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal.
In this Aug. 27, 2019 file photo, actress Lori Loughlin departs federal court in Boston after a hearing in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal. Loughlin, her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and nine other parents face new charges in the college admissions scandal. Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, that the parents were indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
AP

Longtime Hollywood crisis manager Howard Bragman recently told the Deseret News that Lori Loughlin “played it badly” when it came to how she handled the college admissions scandal.

Bragman compared Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin — the two celebrities named in the college admissions scandal earlier this year — during a recent interview with the Deseret News, saying Huffman’s decision to plead guilty, serve her time and get through the scandal quickly was the right move.

Loughlin, though, didn’t take the right approach, he said. Loughlin pleaded not guilty after she was accused of paying $500,000 to the scandal’s mastermind, William “Rick” Singer, to help her daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose Giannulli, get into the University of Southern California.

“The way these two have played it are kind of textbook cases for how you should play it and how you shouldn’t play it with Felicity playing it pretty much spot on. It’s perfect. Exactly how, at least in my mind, I would have wanted if she was my client — and neither are my clients — but had she been my client, exactly how I would have recommended she play it,” he said.

Huffman didn’t wear fancy clothing and didn’t bring an entire team of lawyers with her during her court appearances, he said.

“She expressed remorse for her actions,” Bragman said. “She got it over with quickly. Now she’s out of jail. The only thing left hanging overhead are 250 hours of community service.”

Bragman said he has talked with Hollywood producers who are seeking work for Huffman. Huffman played darker, grittier roles in Hollywood so it’ll be easier for her to grab a new role once the scandal has blown over, he said.

“And I know she’ll be working again because I know producers I’ve talked to who are looking for work for her, who believe in her and are friends with her. So I think she will get beyond this,” he said.

But, he said, Lori “is a different matter because here we are, the same time frame later, and Lori has not resolved her case. Lori played it badly, went to court with, you know, a Mercedes van full of attorneys, looking like she had a stylist dresser was smiling and waving. It just didn’t feel appropriate and didn’t feel like that’s how it should have gone down. It’s going to make it that much harder for people to get a measure sympathy for her.”

When she was named in the scandal, the Hallmark Channel, who was Loughlin’s employer at the time, fired her from her role on “When Calls the Heart.” She reportedly won’t be featured on “Fuller House,” either, where she had been a minor character.

Loughlin could see future work, Bragman said. But it’s too far in the future to understand what that work might look like.

“I think she should see what’s being offered,” Bragman said. “I mean, that’s the first thing. I think it’s a little soon to start thinking about a role when this isn’t resolved yet.”