Ahead of her sentencing for her role in the college admissions scandal on Friday, the cast of ABC’s The View have slammed Felicity Huffman for telling the court that her desire to be a good mother prompted her to partake in the scam.
Earlier in May, Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty to her role in the college admissions scandal, after paying $15,000 to ensure a proctor would correct her daughter Sofia May’s SAT answers and inflate her test scores, which resulted in her securing a place at a renowned college.
The fallout from the scandal has been public and messy after Huffman pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. This week, the Desperate Housewives actress wrote a letter to the judge presiding over her case, saying her “desperation to be a good mother” and help her daughter with learning disabilities drove her to agreeing to take part in the scam.
“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 have done is the opposite of fair. I have broken the law, deceived the educational community, betrayed my daughter, and failed my family,” she wrote in a letter obtained by People.
Huffman, who has asked to be sentenced to one year of probation and community service instead of the prosecutors’ calls for one month of prison time, 12 months of supervised release, and a $20,000 fine, went on to explain that she felt a “deep and abiding shame over what I have done.”
“Shame and regret that I will carry for the rest of my life. It is right that I should carry this burden and use it as fuel for change in my own life and hopefully, it will be a cautionary tale for my daughters and the community,” she added.
This week, the actress’ husband William H. Macy penned a letter in support of his wife to Judge Indira Talwani ahead of Huffman’s sentencing on Friday, and attempted to explain why the actress had been motivated to participate in the bribery.
In the letter, Macy explores Huffman’s turbulent childhood and “sometimes violent” mother, her move to Los Angeles when she was 15-years-old, and her “determination that her children would always have a mother there backing them up.”
“Watching Felicity being a mother is a wonderful thing to see,” Macy wrote. “But motherhood has, from the very beginning, frightened Felicity and she has not carried being a mom easily. She’s struggled to find the balance between what the experts say and her common sense.”
But on ABC’s The View on Monday, the cast slammed Macy’s line of defence, with all the presenters agreeing that the struggles of motherhood were no justification for breaking the law.
“Welcome to the club, OK?” Joy Behar said. “Who wrote that speech? It’s, like, out of Desperate Housewives.”
“Let’s face it. [Huffman’s] rich, she’s entitled, and she tried to game the system. Them’s the facts,” she continued.
Meghan McCain, who recently suffered a miscarriage, also had scathing words for the couple.
“Struggling to be a mom doesn’t mean you break the law,” added Meghan McCain. “Like, I had a hard time even understanding what the hell William H. Macy was even talking about.
“They are the poster children for what everyone hates about white privilege, and she deserves to go to jail,” she added. “I’m sorry, for a long period of time. For over a month.”
Like many Twitter users, Sunny Hostin pointed out that Huffman’s actions had damaging, real-life consequences on deserving college students who stand to lose an educational opportunity because they do not have privilege on their side.
“She’s arguing really that this is a victimless crime, and it isn’t,” Hostin said. “Because another kid didn’t get into that school. Her kid took a seat that another kid deserved, and that’s the problem.”
In the midst of the controversy, the cases of Tanya McDowell, a black woman who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for using a family members’s address to send her son to a public school in Norwalk CT while she was homeless, and Kelley Williams-Bolar, a black woman who was sentenced to 3 years and a fine of $30,000 for using the wrong address to send her daughters to a better school district, have risen to public attention once more. With stark disparities in the way people of colour are convicted in the criminal justice system, Huffman’s sentencing for a federal crime will speak volumes about the state of racial injustice, the power of celebrity and who gets to have a “fair shot” at life.