Will Hallmark Fire Lori Loughlin? How Fans Are Reacting to the College Bribery Scandal
To many, she’ll always be Aunt Becky from Full House. But to Hallmark Channel viewers, actress Lori Loughlin is best known for starring in the romantic period drama When Calls the Heart and in many of the network’s made-for-TV movies, including Homegrown Christmas and Every Christmas Has a Story. She also plays Jennifer Shannon in Garage Sale Mystery, which airs on Hallmark’s sister network Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Loughlin is a big star in the Hallmark universe, which has some wondering how the squeaky-clean network is going to deal with the scandal she’s currently embroiled in. The actress was arrested Wednesday for her role in a college admissions bribery scheme. Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli allegedly paid $500,000 to ensure that their two teenage daughters would gain admission to the University of Southern California as recruits for the crew team, even though neither was involved in the sport.
Hallmark says it’s “monitoring developments”
Loughlin was reportedly filming a new installment of Garage Sale Mystery in Vancouver when news of the scandal broke Tuesday. She flew home to Los Angeles, where she was taken in to custody.
So far, Hallmark hasn’t had much to say about the Loughlin scandal. “Crown Media Family Networks is aware of the situation and is monitoring developments as they arise,” spokeswoman Pam Slay told the New York Daily News in a statement.
What fans have to say about the scandal
While the network stayed mostly mum, Hallmark fans didn’t hesitate to weigh in on the scandal enveloping Loughlin. Overall opinions were split on whether the network should cut ties with the actress or give Loughlin another chance.
“Replace her on the show and move on. She no longer fits the image of the Hallmark Channel,” wrote one fan on the channel’s Facebook page. Other fans tweeted that the actress should be fired. “What about those who work hard for their achievements?? Lost all respect for Lori,” commented another on Instagram.
While some were eager for justice, others preached forgiveness. “Can we just all understand that what lori did was wrong but we need to be able to forgive,” wrote whencalls_theheart_fan on Instagram. “We are all humans and we all make mistakes.”
What Loughlin’s arrest means for When Calls the Heart
When Calls the Heart fans are already coping with the exit of one popular character, Jack, who died at the end of Season 5. Now, some are worried that Loughlin’s personal troubles will lead to another shakeup on the show, where she plays Mayor Abigail Stanton.
One possible issue was whether Loughlin would be able to leave the U.S. to work in Canada, where the show is filmed, while the case against her proceeds. But when she appeared in court on March 13, a judge reluctantly agreed to give her permission to go to Canada for work, Variety reported.
“I’m not comfortable giving her a passport for that kind of travel,” Judge Steve Kim said, though he agreed she would be allowed to leave the country as long as the court was informed of where she was going and how long she would be gone. Kim also set the actress’s bond at $1 million, and she was released after posting bond.
Loughlin faces up to five years in prison if found guilty.
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