Felicity Huffman College Scandal Echoes 'Desperate Housewives' Storyline
In the inaugural season of the hit ABC show, Huffman's character Lynette Scavo forks over $15,000 to get her twins into a private school.
Felicity Huffman made headlines earlier this week after she was accused of paying a bribe to secure her daughter's admission to college. Court documents say the actress paid $15,000 that she disguised as a charitable donation so her daughter could take part in the college entrance-exam cheating scam.
Coincidentally, her Desperate Housewives character did something oddly similar on the first season of the beloved ABC show, which ended in 2012 after eight seasons. In the fifth episode of the series — which aired in 2004 — Huffman's Lynette Scavo and her husband, Tom (Doug Savant), come to the conclusion that they must pitch in a bit more financially if they want their young twin sons to be accepted into a prestigious private school.
While discussing what might set their kids apart from other applicants, Lynette concludes that "a generous donation will ensure our kids beat 'em out." Tom asks how much money they should donate, which prompts Lynette to suggest, "$15,000" — the same amount Huffman allegedly paid to help her own daughter get into college.
BuzzFeed was the first to point out the striking similarities between the choice of Huffman's character and the actress' current real-life scandal.
Court documents state a cooperating witness met with Huffman and her husband, actor William H. Macy, at their Los Angeles home and explained to them that he "controlled" a testing center and could have somebody secretly change her daughter's answers. The person told investigators the couple agreed to the plan.
Huffman was arrested and charged with fraud on Tuesday, and was later released on a $250,000 bond. Macy has not been charged.
Prosecutors claim that dozens of parents, including Huffman and fellow actress Lori Loughlin, paid admissions consultant William Singer and his nonprofit organization, Key Worldwide Foundation, aka "KWF," who would later use the money to bribe school coaches and administrators to accept children of the donors into their respective college programs.
Loughlin, according to court documents, "agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC."
Loughlin was taken into custody Wednesday and freed on a $1 million bond. In the wake of Loughlin's legal drama, Hallmark Channel on Thursday announced that it has severed ties with the actress, who stars on the cabler's series When Calls the Heart and in the Garage Sale Mystery series of TV movies.