‘Operation Varsity Blues’ hits college admissions scandal on Netflix


Get ready for “privilege gone wild.”

Netflix has dropped a trailer for a forthcoming debut, which focuses on the methods that Rick Singer — the ringleader of the bombshell 2019 college admissions scandal — used to exploit the system.

Called “Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal” and set for a March 17 premiere, the 100-minute documentary film uses interviews and recreations of FBI-wiretapped conversations to show a glimpse of Singer’s shady operation.

“We help the wealthiest families in the US get their kids into school,” said actor Matthew Modine, who stars as Singer in the film, in the first minute of the preview. He adds that he’s done more than 700 “side doors” for admission, as opposed to “the front door,” which means a student gains admission into college on their own merit. “Because my families want a guarantee.”

Singer’s families have famously included those of celebrities. One couple was “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion-designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, who pleaded guilty to paying $500,000 to get their daughters — Olivia Jade and Isabella — accepted into the University of Southern California as crew recruits, despite the fact neither are rowers. Loughlin served two months in federal prison and was released in December, while Giannulli is serving a five-month sentence.

Meanwhile, actress Felicity Huffman — who pleaded guilty in 2019 for paying Singer $15,000 to inflate one of her daughters’ college-admissions test scores in 2017 — served 11 days of a two-week federal prison sentence.

Rick Singer
Courtesy of NETFLIX

Singer himself pleaded guilty in 2019 to charges including racketeering, money laundering and fraud — and even helped the FBI in its investigation. More than 30 rich parents were discovered to have paid substantial bribes in the scandal, which was called Operation Varsity Blues, to get their children into elite schools — also including Yale and Stanford.

The preview goes on to detail other instances of false claims for admission: a 5-foot-5 kid whom Singer claimed to be a basketball player and a cheerleader who was made to look like a lacrosse player. Clips include recreations of arrests by the FBI, as well as news clips from Loughlin and Huffman entering and leaving court.

Chris Smith, the director of 2019’s buzzy “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened,” directed the film.

“It’s the home run of home runs,” said Modine, from a tapped phone call, at the end of the clip. “And it works?” asked the person on the other line.

“Every time,” Modine replied.

Matthew Modine plays college admissions scam leader Rick Singer in a forthcoming Netflix documentary.
Matthew Modine plays college admissions scam leader Rick Singer in a forthcoming Netflix documentary.
Courtesy of NETFLIX


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