ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” the dance competition that pairs celebrities with professional dancers, is back and its cast features an array of stars ranging from pro basketball players to YouTube stars, including one Olivia Jade Giannulli.
However, not everyone was eager to see the young internet star, taking exception to host Tyra Banks, who, during an interview with “Entertainment Tonight,” defended the 21-year-old’s position on the show and her level of celebrity, which many online critics questioned.
Olivia made headlines when her parents, actress Lori Loughlin and designer Mossimo Giannulli, were caught in the middle of a high-profile college admissions scandal in 2019. The couple paid $500,000 to a fixer to get their two daughters, Olivia Jade and her sister Bella, into the prestigious University of Southern California as members of the rowing team, although they did not compete in the sport.
Loughlin, who is most notable for her role as “Aunt Becky” on the hit television sitcom “Full House” pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. She was sentenced to two months at Federal Correctional Institution Victorville, a minimum-security federal facility in Dublin, California. Meanwhile, her husband pleaded guilty to the same charges and was sentenced to five months at a federal prison in Lompoc, Near Santa Barbara, California.
The television host described the young beauty influencer as being “brave.” She added, “I think people don’t know her, they know what happened to her. She has said that she did not know about what was going on, and it’s really sad, and it’s very hurtful when something publicly happens but you had nothing to do with it. So I trust that she says she didn’t know.”
Tyra also expressed beliefs that while Olivia may not be your traditional celebrity who earned their notoriety through modes including film, music, or television, she should still be regarded as one.
“But what is a celebrity today?” She asked. “ If that’s the case then there’s no Instagram influencer that is a celebrity. We are in a whole different world and celebrity has taken a turn and a change.” The 47 said, “If people are talking about you, you’re famous,And you can be on ‘Dancing With the Stars.”
Folks online, slammed the 47-year-old over her comments, including one Twitter user who wrote, “Tyra is so wrong, just because people know you, doesn’t make you famous, it makes you infamous, and those are 2 different things.”
Another person argued Tyra’s definition of ‘celebrity,’ writing,“Yeah, but that still doesn’t make her a ‘star’ in the Hollywood sense of the word in TV, movies, and music! ”
“Dancing with the Stars” season 30 premieres on Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. ET, featuring a slew of challengers including, Kenya Moore, Matt James, Iman Shumpert, and more.