In 2019, the world watched as 33 parents, including celebrities Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, were caught bribing their sons and daughters into elite universities. At the center of it all was college counselor to the one percent William “Rick” Singer. By procuring fraudulent test scores and conspiring with college coaches, he opened over 760 “side doors” for the wealthy families who bought into his scheme.
Conversations between Singer and his co-conspirators are recreated in the film using actual FBI wiretaps. “The front door means getting in on your own, so I’ve created this side door in because my families want a guarantee,” the counselor is caught saying.
In addition to the dozens of parents charged with mail fraud and money laundering, a handful of standardized test administrators and 11 coaches from institutions including Georgetown, Stanford, Yale and USC were found guilty.
Netflix‘s Operation Varsity Blues provides a closer look at the largest college admissions scandal ever prosecuted in the U.S. and the power structures that enabled it. A Mashable review of the documentary reports, “what it does best is shine a light on the greed of those involved while introducing viewers to the distressing inequality in our flawed educational system.”
“Seeing the number of people in positions of power — from test proctors and teachers to coaches and senior athletic directors — who were willing to compromise their integrity, help the undeserving succeed, and take life-changing educational opportunities away from qualified, rule-abiding college applicants will repulse you,” the review continues.
Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal is now streaming on Netflix.