Hollywood Stars of Tomorrow May Be Replaced by Actors of the Digital Kind

ethics-digital-actors-3

The advent of robots that are able to sub-in for many of the job positions that human beings currently hold has altered an economic calculus within our society and an important stability measure as well.

Those who enjoy the status of being gainfully employed and those who dream of limitless future career possibilities are being forced to make some serious adjustments to their individual life plans.

A future in which robot employees replace the human kind has thus far been seen in the food service, manufacturing, and financial industries.

Interestingly, though, just like the rest of us Hollywood presently finds itself in a stare-down with the Brave New World of tomorrow. A similar form of technology to the one that is being applied to the overall labor market is rapidly advancing in the world of entertainment, and the same dynamics are present. Consequently, realistically threatened is one occupational position in particular, that of the Hollywood actor.

Recent advances in digital effects, combined with artificial intelligence, are bringing into reality the all digital actor, i.e., a complete and convincing digital reproduction of a real life human actor.

Similar tech-based techniques have been used to bring about a return to the small and big screen the images of actors who are no longer with us. A digital version of Peter Cushing  was used to reprise his role in the Star Wars film “Rogue One.”

It is becoming more and more routine to scan the face and body of an actor prior to starting a project, so that a digital stunt double can be used, if necessary, as a stand-in for action scenes.

This year, for the entire length of the film, the major studio movie release “Alita: Battle Angel” utilized a computer-generated actor to play the central role of a cyborg.

Two major fall releases, “Gemini Man” and “The Irishman,” will use de-aging digital effects to create younger versions of the stars of the films. The two films are examples of a new actuality in Hollywood, where actors can portray a character of any age, notwithstanding their own individual birthdays.

“Gemini Man” star Will Smith, who is now 50-years-old, recently explained his new film’s plot to the entertainment press. The actor is depicted in the movie as battling against a younger clone of himself. The technology allowed the creation of a digital double of Smith that has the ability to act in scenes simultaneously with the star.

“There’s a completely digital 20-year-old version of myself that can make movies now,” Smith shared with reporters.

Another fall movie, “The Irishman,” features 75-year-old Robert De Niro and 79-year old Al Pacino playing labor union leader Frank Sheeran and union activist Jimmy Hoffa, respectively. Both actors appear in the film at disparately different ages in their lives via the use of digital de-aging effects.

The same technology created younger versions of actors Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer in “Ant-Man” and “The Wasp,” Samuel L. Jackson in “Captain Marvel,” and Anthony Hopkins in the first season of “Westworld.”

At a time when Hollywood studios routinely focus on the franchise rather than the individual star, and when so much of production is being brought to fruition via computer graphics, it is logical that in the future many entertainment executives will use logistic and financial reasoning to pursue a fully computer generated production, including the outright replacement of live actors themselves.

Research in the methodology and artistic refinement of digitally duplicating human beings is rapidly advancing. A studio specializing in digital humans, Digital Domain, created the character Thanos for the film “Infinity War,” and has been doing extensive research and development in a division aptly called the Digital Human Group.

The idea of non-human actors presents distinct advantages for modern-day filmmakers who would love to see a set free from tiresome retakes, bloated budgets, and demanding divas.

Liberal Rants Aren’t Silencing ‘Lion King’’s Box-office Roar

lionking-920x584

Editors at the Washington Post recently made the inane decision to publish the radical ramblings of Dan Hassler-Forest, assistant professor in the Media Studies Department of Utrecht University, which is located in the Netherlands.

In an entertainment world that produces excessively violent, sexually aggressive, and politically correct product to the max, Hassler- Forest makes the nonsensical assertion that the plot line of Disney’s current iteration of “The Lion King” is a fable that is riddled with fascist ideology.

“The Lion King” is a photorealistic computer-animated remake of Disney’s conventionally animated 1994 film of the same name. The movie’s plot line revolves around a young lion named Simba, who struggles to accept his place as the rightful king of his nation after his father Mufasa is murdered by his uncle named Scar.

Because the story involves a monarchy in which lions comprise a ruling class, Hassler-Forest concludes that the film depicts “a society where the weak have learned to worship at the feet of the strong.” Hassler-Forest also contends that the movie “presents a seductive worldview in which absolute power goes unquestioned and the weak and the vulnerable are fundamentally inferior.”

Using Hassler-Forest’s argument as a basis, one would have to conclude that a vast majority of folk legends, fairy tales, and classic fables featuring kings, queens, princes, and princesses will eventually be forced to face the chopping block.

In addition to the Washington Post piece, the metropolitan media critic community is generally slamming “The Lion King,” giving it a dismal 55% rating on the Rotten Tomatoes aggregation website. Critics thumbing their respective noses at the movie include those from the Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, and NPR.

Despite the Washington Post’s hit piece and the critics’ jabs at “The Lion King,” the public is giving it a whole lot of love, grading the film with an A rating on CinemaScore and additionally making it a record-breaking blockbuster at the box office.

“The Lion King” has taken the record for a July opening, with $185 million gross, an amount that not only outperforms pre-release forecasts but also bests the previous July record holder, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” which took in more than $169 million. The movie is also the second largest debut of the year so far, trailing behind only one film, “Avengers: Endgame.” “The Lion King” reboot has additionally topped another Disney live-action remake, “Beauty and the Beast.”

The idea for the story on which “The Lion King” is based first arose during a conversation between senior executive Roy E. Disney (son of Disney co-founder Roy O. Disney), Dreamworks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, and first president of Disney Animation Peter Schneider. (The conversation took place in the late 1980s on a plane to Europe to promote “Oliver & Company,” an early Disney animated musical film adaptation of Charles Dickens’s “Oliver Twist.”)

As “The Lion King” idea was being developed, Katzenberg added his own thematic material involving coming of age and death, and some ideas from his own personal life experiences. Katzenberg has stated that “The Lion King” “is a little bit about myself.”

Although he may be a died-in-the-wool liberal and has had his share of rotten political ideas, Katzenberg is no fascist.

The new live action reboot of the film seems to have been packaged so that it would escape the unfavorable judgments of left-wing gatekeepers. It features a predominantly African-American cast, with a story that takes place in Africa. The voices in the film include those of Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, John Kani, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, and James Earl Jones, who reprises his role of Mufasa from the original film.

It is preposterous that these celebrities would become involved with a movie that had fascistic undertones. The same for Elton John, who along with Tim Rice wrote several evergreen tunes for the original animated version and have contributed a new song for the reboot titled “Never Too Late.”

Thankfully, moviegoers are not buying the whole fascist meme. They are, however, expressing their delight with Disney’s fanciful remake by buying tickets in droves.

Corporate Virtue Signaling

screen-shot-2019-07-02-at-3.58.24-pm-800x350

Colin Kaepernick recently voiced his complaints to Nike executives about the company’s plans to release patriotic themed sneakers that featured a Betsy Ross flag on the back portion of the shoes.

The sports apparel firm responded to the former NFL quarterback’s politically correct ridiculousness with complete capitulation and proceeded to pull the Air Max 1 USA shoe from the market.

Nike actually has a history of pandering to the left, which started well before the recent sneaker fiasco took place. The company offended a whole slew of its customers when it named the National Anthem-kneeling Kaepernick as the face of its formerly successful “Just Do It” campaign.

Nike is not alone in its mixing of business and politics. In truth, many of our companies have hopped on a leftist bandwagon, ushering in a “progressive” era of corporate virtue signaling.

“There’s a troubling trend among giant corporations using this wealth and power to force liberal dogma on an unwilling people. As liberal activists have lost control of the judiciary, they have turned to a different hub of power to impose their views on the rest of the country. This time it’s private power…,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) stated in a June speech given to his colleagues in the U.S. Senate.

The senator is correct. Corporate capitulation to liberal demands has snaked its way throughout the business world. From Left Coast entertainment companies to East Coast conglomerates, business entities have even seen fit to weigh in on individual state legislation, with top-down executive elites wielding economic power as a weapon to undermine the legitimate legislative process of our representative democracy.

One glaring example that the country lived through in 2016 was brought to the public, courtesy of the National Football League (NFL). The NFL had objected to a Georgia state bill that had at its core individual religious liberty.

The bill was characterized by the press at the time as creating legal discrimination against gay and lesbian individuals. After similar bills in Mississippi and North Carolina emerged, it prompted a letter, which was signed by 100 companies that were lobbying against the state measures. One company, PayPal, actually ended up removing 400 jobs from North Carolina in an apparent act of reprisal and display of newfound corporate political power.

The National Basketball Association moved the 2017 All-Star game out of Charlotte, North Carolina, as an expression of protest against another of the state’s laws, which required transgender individuals to use a restroom that corresponds to the gender with which they were born.

Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook joined with other businesses in Texas to denounce bills in the state legislature that were claimed to have had the potential to inflict harm against individuals based on their sexual preferences. An online letter was posted, which was signed by the aforementioned businesses as well as other major entities, including PayPal, Pepsi, Unilever, Salesforce, IBM, and Ben & Jerry’s.

Numerous other companies have been racing in a political direction, one that is almost always left-of-center.

This year’s Super Bowl featured a Gillette ad that denounced “toxic masculinity,” which resulted in considerable backlash from sports and non-sports fans alike. Undeterred, the shaving supply giant doubled-down in its approach with a second commercial containing the same theme.

Since the #MeToo movement expanded out from Hollywood green rooms to corporate board rooms, businesses have become more sensitive to feminist causes. When the people of Georgia, via their representatives, revised their existing abortion laws, entertainment companies, which included Disney, Netflix, and Warner Media, threatened to inflict damage on Georgia’s film production industry unless the state acceded to their prescribed liberal dictates. A full-page advertisement bearing the signatures of hundreds of business heads appeared in The New York Times, attacking the legislative legal protections for pre-born humans.

Yet, when it comes to film production sites, Hollywood’s self-absorption seems to blind it to its own hypocrisy, as companies continue to film in locales such as the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Jordan, etc., places in which women face far more restrictive laws than those found in the U.S.

Other examples of how the scent of politics is wafting out of some of our nation’s largest corporate headquarters include the announcement from Bank of America that it would no longer lend money to those who operate immigration detention centers and private prisons. The institution followed in the footsteps of JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo, which had also severed business ties with private prison operators.

Major businesses in the United States used to shy away from taking positions that might offend a segment of their potential purchasing base. Not so anymore. Like a dizzying number of other radical changes that our present culture is undergoing, the notion that corporations would be wise to remain apolitical appears to have been tossed in the graveyard of forgotten business practices.

Woke Disney is Risky Business

New York Stock Exchange Disney CEO Iger, USA - 27 Nov 2017

Entertainment behemoth Walt Disney Company, which as a business startup had a focus on child-oriented product, now has a CEO who has taken an anti-child stance on a significant societal issue.

In a Reuters interview that took place prior to the dedication of Disneyland’s newest land, “Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge,” Disney head Bob Iger was asked whether or not the company would continue to use the state of Georgia as a location for the filming of its projects.

The reason the question was posed to Iger is because Georgia recently passed a state law that bans abortion procedures after a fetal heartbeat can be detected (approximately six weeks of gestation). Iger was letting the world know which side Disney is on in the culture war that continues to surround abortion.

The CEO stated that it would be “very difficult” for Disney to continue to engage in its on-location production activities in Georgia if the new law were to take effect.

Georgia is a preferred locale for many of Hollywood’s film and television projects, due to a 20 percent base transferable tax credit. The Peach State brought in $2.7 billion in revenue from such projects in 2018.

“Well, I think if it becomes law, it’ll be very difficult to produce there,” Iger told Reuters. “I rather doubt we will. I think many people who work for us will not want to work there and we’ll have to heed their wishes in that regard.”

Iger continued, “I think it’s also likely to be challenged in the courts and that could delay it. …But if it becomes law, I don’t see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there.”

A sizable amount of The Mouse House’s production has been based in Georgia locales, including that of its blockbusters “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Endgame.”

A number of aptly termed “heartbeat bills” have already been passed, and/or are in the process of moving forward in states that include Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio, using legitimate legislative processes that express the will of the people and allow citizens to exercise their right of self-governance in each respective state.

By choosing to weigh in on one of society’s most controversial concerns, Iger may have inflicted harm on his company’s well-honed brand by slighting a significant segment of Disney’s customer base.

The company recently acquired 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets and is planning to launch its new Disney+ streaming service this year, which will reportedly be loaded with family friendly content. Disney also plans to capitalize on its collection of beloved characters from its “Star Wars,” Marvel, and Pixar catalogs.

Interestingly, at the same time Disney’s CEO is talking about pulling out of Georgia, the company he heads is operating a theme park and distributing movies in China, a country that is known for banning parts of the web, depriving people of their liberties, and engaging in human rights abuses.

Disney recently filmed a live-action adaptation of its 1998 animated film “Mulan” in China. Marvel, a Disney subsidiary, has actually been criticized for caving to censors in China by changing a character’s ethnicity from Tibetan to Celtic.

Iger recently discussed with the Saudi crown prince the prospect of having an amusement park in Saudi Arabia, a place where women are forced to endure second class status.

The comments of Iger followed those of Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who not only said that Netflix’s production would be exiting Georgia, but also indicated that the streaming company would support legal efforts to overturn the democratically passed heartbeat law.

Netflix filmed its hit series “Stranger Things” in Georgia as well as the upcoming sci-fi show “Raising Dion.”

Sarandos told Variety, “We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law… Should it ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia.”

However, Netflix does not seem particularly concerned with women’s rights, or even human rights for that matter. The company pulled an episode of “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj,” which criticized Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This was purportedly done so that it would be unable to be viewed by Saudis following a “take down request” from the Saudi Arabian government. Netflix additionally shot “Marco Polo” in Malaysia, a place in which Sharia law is imposed.

Shortly after Disney and Netflix weighed in on Georgia, other Hollywood companies saw fit to jump on the virtue-signaling bandwagon as well, including WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, AMC, CBS, Viacom, and Sony, indicating that each may also withdraw from using Georgia production sites.

The Georgia law also prompted a group of Hollywood celebrities to speak out, which included Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman, and Alyssa Milano. Directors J.J. Abrams, Jordan Peele, and Ron Howard for the moment are filming there but have plans to donate money to the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups opposing Georgia’s duly passed legislation.

Not all left-wingers are united on ways in which to handle the Georgia law, though. Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is seeking to avoid a boycott over concerns that the citizens of Georgia could be hurt. And more than 3,300 women have signed a “We Work Here” Change.org petition, initiated by The Women of Film in Georgia, expressing opposition to any boycott of the state.

Hollywood Writers Go to War with Talent Agents

1513300629694

Two Hollywood institutions, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Association of Talent Agents (ATA), are now in an all out battle with one another. Consequently, the way in which business is conducted in the entertainment world may never be the same.

A dispute between the two organizations arose over the 43 year-old Artists’ Managers Basic Agreement (AMBA), a pact between the WGA and the ATA, which regulates the terms of how agents represent writers.

The WGA by-laws stipulate that an agency must sign the AMBA in order to represent one of its members.

Questions about the AMBA arose after a survey of WGA members found that Hollywood writers felt as if the major agencies’ practice of “packaging” was a detriment to their careers.

Packaging refers to an activity in which agents engage whereby there is a combining together of creative clients to benefit film studios, producers, and television networks.

Talent agencies used to rely primarily on a 10 percent commission rate as a revenue source. However, the practice of packaging provided a means in which larger agencies would be able to earn substantial additional revenue.

So-called packaging fees are charged separately and comprise an additional revenue source that is over and above the 10 percent commission; this additional amount of income is earned in exchange for bringing to a particular entertainment project a group of artists, e.g., writers, directors, and actors.

Additionally, the three biggest agencies, William Morris Endeavor (WME), Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and United Talent Agency (UTA), have spawned affiliate companies that participate in the ownership of content.

Writers contend that agents who package and gain an ownership stake have a conflict of interest, and they further assert that this conflict has caused writers’ earnings to decline.

The pursuit of packaging revenue places agents in a position of seeking deals that produce lucrative packaging fees rather than pushing for their clients to receive greater compensation.

When an agency owns and/or produces content, it places the agent in the dubious position of being an employer who is supposed to be representing the interests of an employee. This is a textbook case of a conflict of interest.

The growth of revenue streams for large talent agencies has attracted private equity investors and has even spurred some of the larger agencies to reportedly pursue the idea of going public. This has added more pressure as well as additional incentive to continue packaging and content ownership.

The agents that engage in such practices have actually made things worse through a lack of transparency, which has bred mistrust with their clients. Creators often had no knowledge that the content they had created was being packaged, with their agency generating a substantial amount of additional revenue off of their work. The agencies have acknowledged this error and have indicated that in the future they will be transparent.

The problem is that the damage has been done. Because the WGA and the ATA have come to an impasse in their negotiations, a tough-minded new talent agent code of conduct has been implemented by the writers union to end packaging and content ownership by agencies. The new code disallows any agent who represents a WGA member from receiving packaging fees and/or from working with agency-affiliated production companies.

WGA members have been instructed to disassociate from agents who do not comply with the new code of conduct. To this end, the union has provided members a DocuSign link with which they can send formal termination letters to agents.

These letters are now being sent out. Krista Vernoff, the showrunner on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” wrote an article for the Hollywood Reporter, which is titled “Why I Left My Agent, Despite the Sales Pitch.”

A sizable number of writers have taken to Twitter to announce their solidarity with the union by changing their profile pictures to icons that say “I Stand With the WGA.”

More than 800 writers have signed a statement of support and indicated that they “will only be represented as writers by agencies franchised by the Guild.” Most of the notable showrunners and TV creators that agencies desire to package have been visibly in support of the union.

The union has decided to play hardball with a new database for showrunners, where position openings are posted and writers may directly apply for work. It has put forth a plan for writers to be represented by managers and lawyers, as opposed to agents, although the ATA contends that the plan violates the law in California and New York.

Reportedly, the union has already drafted a lawsuit against the ATA and its member agencies, which would bring the battle to a courtroom on the East Coast or the West. The lawsuit will likely claim a breach of fiduciary duty by the agents who accepted fees from studios and allegedly failed to negotiate in good faith on behalf of their clients’ interests.

The outcome of this conflict will likely result in an entertainment industry realignment, whereby writers are represented by smaller agencies that agree to collect commissions, minus the packaging or content participation.

In a letter to members, the WGA described the significance of the big agencies firing in the following manner: “We know that, together, we are about to enter uncharted waters.”

Dim Prospects for Jussie Smollett

694940094001_6018205875001_6018205763001-vs

Despite the dropping of the 16 felony counts with which he was charged by the Cook County, Illinois state’s attorney, “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s image and career prospects are still in jeopardy.

Currently, Smollett’s team is heavily engaged in the crisis management process, attempting to stop the decline of his public image. According to TMZ and other news outlets, offers of prospective roles have come to a halt since Smollett was arrested and charged with alleged involvement in orchestrating a hoax hate crime.

The actor, who for the time being remains a cast member of the television drama, is reportedly in pursuit of TV appearances so that he can tell his version of what happened and reverse the public relations slide.

Despite his claims of innocence, Smollett went from being viewed as a sympathetic victim to being perceived as a self-centered, morally challenged individual.

Because of the manner in which his criminal case has been jettisoned, he is now at the epicenter of a political corruption scandal, and as public outrage continues to grow he is even being compared to O.J. Simpson on social media, cable television, and talk radio.

There was recently an expectation that Smollett might attend the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ( NAACP) Image Awards that took place this past weekend, but the actor was a no-show. Although he had been nominated for an award, he lost out on getting a win.

As an indicator of his standing within the culture, Smollett’s reputation has been taking a bruising of the comedic kind. During the NAACP awards show, when comedian Chris Rock was presenting the award for Outstanding Comedy Series, the presenter riffed on Smollett, despite having been instructed by the producers to avoid making the “Empire” actor a part of his humor.

“They said no Jussie Smollett jokes,” Rock said. “I know. What a waste of light skin. You know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair? My career would be out of here. F***ing running Hollywood.”

Rock then struck directly at Smollett’s credibility.

“What the h**l was he thinking?” Rock asked. “From now on, you’re Jessie from now on. You don’t even get the ‘U’ no more. That ‘U’ was respect. You don’t get no respect from me.”

Smollett was also the subject of punch lines during the most recent broadcast of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” During a sketch on Weekend Update, Cecily Strong portrayed Fox News’ judicial star Jeanine Pirro.

“[President Trump] is getting rid of Jussie Smollett and he is bringing back Roseanne,” Strong, playing the character of Judge Jeanine, said.

“She [Roseanne] is getting a new show, The Barrs; it’s going to be Roseanne and William Barr…they are going to tell it like they see it, and they are going to take all the d**n Ambien they want, period.”

In another sketch, Smollett was in an imaginary meeting with his manager, the “Empire” executive producer, and TV executives to discuss his criminal case.

A MAGA hat wearing Chris Redd portrays Smollett, who claims that he was the victim of another attack. In an attempt to lend credence to his story, the Smollett character produces a box of Crest Whitestrips, three red letter Ks, a receipt, car keys, and a purple Teletubby.

Even though Smollett appears to have avoided a prosecution in Cook County, the actor is being investigated in a federal probe over whether he authored and mailed a hate-filled letter that arrived on the “Empire” set earlier this year. The letter contained bigoted invectives, a stick figure hanging from a tree, and a white powdery substance that echoed the anthrax letter attacks of 2001.

Federal charges, if brought, could expose Smollett to the possibility of spending 5-20 years behind bars.

“Jussie, you know we’ve got to fire you, right?” the executive producer character on SNL said during the sketch. The line may prove to be prophetic.

Despite supportive statements issued by the producers of “Empire” and Fox, Deadline reports that the actor is not expected to be a part of the series next season.

After the news broke that the charges against Smollett were inexplicably dropped, ratings for “Empire” fell to an all-time low, which was even lower than the debut episode this season that had slid 35 percent when compared to last year’s ratings.

Smollett has already been written out of the remaining episodes of the current fifth season. The actor’s option is up in June 2019. In the interim, the network and producers will determine whether to, as one source said, “cut their losses if need be” by choosing to renew “Empire” without Smollett’s inclusion.

College Admission Scandals Imitate TV Scripts

lori-loughlin-and-felicity-huffman-new-758x397

The admissions scandal that recently hit some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities has resulted in the largest prosecution of an alleged scheme to influence higher education admission decisions made at top tier institutions.

Approximately 50 people have been caught up in the investigation, including the organizer of the alleged scheme, coaches and testing administrators who were purportedly bribed, and wealthy parents of admission seeking students.

The ongoing investigation is named “Operation Varsity Blues,” a title that was also used for a 1999 cult movie starring James Van Der Beek, Jon Voight, Paul Walker, Ron Lester, and Scott Caan. The film’s plot features a small town football team in a sports crazed Texas community, where players deal with teenage angst while coping with an obsessive coach played by Voight.

Van Der Beek portrays a backup quarterback who gains the starting position when the first string QB is injured. Much to the chagrin of Van Der Beek’s character’s father, he wants to attend an Ivy League school.

“Varsity Blues” is best known for a scene in which the quarterback son shouts to his football obsessed father the following words: “I don’t want your life!”

The actor recently referenced the famous film quote in a Twitter post about the breaking news of the college admissions scandal.

“If only there was a succinct turn of phrase these kids could have used to inform their parents they were not desirous of their life path,” Van Der Beek posted.

When prosecutors and investigators used the title of a movie as a name for their investigation, they may not have fully realized the bizarre “life imitates art” connections, which the facts presented with respect to the two most famous defendants involved in the case, actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin.

The allegations in the indictment against Huffman are remarkably similar to a plot line in an episode of the television show in which Huffman starred, “Desperate Housewives.” In the fifth episode of the first season of the ABC television series, Huffman’s character and her fictitious husband contribute money to an elite private school in order to gain admission for their children.

“A generous donation will ensure our kids beat ’em out,” Huffman’s character explains to her spouse.

When the husband asks about the requisite amount, Huffman’s character replies, “$15,000.”

Ironically, the amount of $15,000 is the exact sum that Huffman is alleged to have paid in the form of a charitable donation to facilitate a higher score on her real life daughter’s standardized test. The scheme involved an alleged bribe to a proctor at a testing center who would then modify the daughter’s answers in order to raise her final score.

Meanwhile Loughlin, who starred in the television series “Full House,” appeared in one episode that had a plot line, which would end up foreshadowing future trouble with legal authorities. In episode fifteen of season six, which incidentally also aired on ABC, Loughlin’s character’s husband Jesse, played by John Stamos, attempts to prevaricate in order to obtain admission to a prestigious pre-school for their fictitious twin sons. In a conversation with Joey, portrayed by David Coulier. Jesse reveals his plans to lie in order to gain access to the school for his boys.

“I’m their father,” Jesse says. “If I don’t lie for them, who will?”

Jesse plots to misrepresent his profession as that of a diplomat and to boast of his toddler sons’ abilities to speak foreign languages and play various musical instruments.

Loughlin’s character puts a stop to Jesse’s plans and helps guide the family to the realization that an elite pre-school may not be the best thing for their children.

Loughlin’s character says to Jesse, “I know you want what’s best for them, but maybe the fast track isn’t it,” adding that the two boys are “normal, healthy kids and whatever track they’re on, they seem to be doing OK.”

Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, Loughlin’s real life fashion designer husband and creator of the Mossimo clothing line, were accused in the indictment of paying $500,000 disguised as a charitable donation, so that a university admissions committee would be led to believe that their two daughters would be joining the women’s rowing team at the school, when in reality neither had ever received training or participated in the sport.