The hosts of “The View” weighed in Monday on actress Felicity Huffman‘s final plea for mercy prior as she awaits sentencing for her involvement in a multi-million-dollar college cheating scandal.
This week, the Oscar-nominated actress penned a letter to the courts apologizing for her alleged actions in a bid to avoid being sent to jail. Huffman, along with fellow TV actress Lori Loughlin, were among 50 people charged earlier this year in what federal authorities called the “biggest college admissions scam” ever, in which the defendants were accused of doling out nearly $25 million in bribes.
The former “Desperate Housewives” actress and 13 others pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud after paying $15,000 to have her daughter’s SAT score improved, according to ABC News.
In court filings, Huffman’s attorneys said the actress is “remorseful” over her efforts to “manipulate her daughter’s guidance counselor, the testing services [and] the schools to which her daughter had applied.” This same sentiment was echoed in a letter written by Huffman herself, seeemingly defending her actions.
“In my desperation to be a good mother, I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot,” she wrote. “I see the irony in that statement now because what I’ve done is the opposite of fair.”
Huffman currently faces a month behind bars, and 12 months of supervised release. Co-host Sunny Hostin pointed out the punishment was much more harsh for Tanya McDowell, a homeless Black woman in Brigdeport, Connecticut, who was sentenced to five years in prison after illegally enrolling her then-5-year-old son in a school out of district.
Kelley Williams-Bolar, a Black single mom, was accused of “stealing an education” after lying about her residency in hopes of getting her daughter into a better school district. The Ohio woman was convicted of two felonies in 2011 and sentenced to nine days in jail, in addition to three years probation.
Hostin, a former prosecutor, highlighted the irony of it all and slammed Huffman for trying to get by on her privilege.
“The prosecutors are recommending one month and she’s saying that that is too much time. That is not too much time,” she said of the actress’s possible sentence. “She’s arguing that this is a victimless crime — and it isn’t because another kid didn’t get into that school. Her kid took a seat that another kid deserved, and that’s the problem.”
“This judge has to send a message to the community that this isn’t right,” Hostin continued. “[Huffman] had wealth, privilege and a platform, and she didn’t use it appropriately.”
Conservative co-host Meghan McCain dubbed Huffman the “poster child for what everyone hates about white privilege” and argued that she “deserves to go to jail … for a long time.”
Veteran co-host Joy Behar agreed, chiming in: “She’s rich. She’s entitled, and she tried to game the system. Them’s the facts.”
Hostin also took issue with a letter of support of penned by Huffman’s husband William H. Macy, in which he detailed how the FBI had raided their home, leaving the couple’s younger daughter traumatized.
“He sort of makes this argument that we are not that kind of criminal,” Hostin argued. “And so, it’s yet again this sort of privilege, like, ‘Don’t treat us like that.’ [But] you are a criminal. You’ve pled guilty. … Shouldn’t you be treated the same as any other criminal?”
Longtime host Whoopi Goldberg lamented the fact that cheating has become all too common, especially in schools.
“We’ve made it OK for them,” Goldberg added. “Maybe it’s time to take that back and start making consequences matter.”
Huffman’s sentencing is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 13.
Watch more in the clip below.