Olivia Jade Giannulli returned to YouTube Sunday with a two-minute video, after her nine-month hiatus from social media since the college admissions scandal broke out in March.
In the video, she stated that she “legally can’t speak” about the scandal or share any thoughts on it, but she’s looking forward to being back on YouTube and uploading videos. Giannulli spoke about her hesitation to return back to the platform.
“Though I’m terrified to make this video and to come back, I know that I also want to start taking smaller steps in the right direction,” she said.
Giannulli also discussed how she missed creating content and was looking forward to pursuing her interests again.
“This is something that I’m really passionate about and something I really like to do, but I also didn’t know,” she said. “I debated for seven or eight months like, well if I can’t talk about it, is there a point in coming back and not being able to say anything? I want to come back because I want to come back.”
Since Giannulli posted, she was met with a lot of backlash on social media with one user, Jeremy Mageau, who snarkily commented on her video, “I feel bad, nobody knows how hard her life actually is, she has to scam her way into a whole different college now! Imagine the stress?”
Twitter user Sebastian Silvia, who studies architecture at USC, had a similar take when he tweeted, “olivia jade on YouTube again that means finals season at USC is blessed everyone will get A’s and clear skin yup yup yup.”
However, Giannulli also received a lot of support on social media. YouTube user Dakota Wakeley commented on her video, “Come back and do what you love. We can all imagine how your life has been through all of this and only you know your story. Keep moving forward and keep your head up. Good luck.”
Anna Fujii, a USC sophomore majoring in cinema and media studies, expressed doubt that Giannulli will be able to have a successful return to YouTube following the scandal.
“I think it’s really courageous of her to try, especially [since] she knew the critiques going back into this,” Fujii said. “There is such heavy cancel culture and because this was a national … scandal, I’m not sure if she’ll ever get back her original branding.”
Fujii, a member of Reach, a student organization centered around social media, still believes Giannulli will have a large following of people watching her videos.
“She’ll never go back to the same person that she was, but she’ll still have attention,” Fujii said.
“America loves to hate. Especially online, people love to follow the drama.”
While Giannulli’s YouTube channel is active again, some students are concerned that her audiences’ attention will be concentrated on the wrong issues.
“No one talks about how what happened impacted the minorities on campus, like low-income first-generation students,” said Sullyari Bautista, a junior majoring in political science. “The scandal wasn’t just about them, but it was a slap in the face for everyone who has experienced imposter syndrome and feels like they don’t belong.”
Kelsey Kussman, a sophomore majoring in anthropology, echoed Bautista’s sentiment.
“She [Giannulli] definitely epitomizes the split in colleges between the extremely privileged and students who don’t have those same opportunities,” Kussman said. “I think she sort of has become a symbol of that.”
Giannulli’s video does not have any sort of apology in it, which has been a point of concern for Kussman. She also added how Giannulli is profiting off her infamy with few consequences.
“I would like to not hear about it [Giannulli’s channel] going forward because I just like don’t want her to get more publicity,” Kussman said. “There’s more of an opportunity for her to monetize it, and that just pisses me off.”