The documentary-maker behind Tiger King has just released a new Netflix docu-series about the college admissions scandal that got everybody talking in 2019.
Cast your minds back to 2019, a time before Covid-19 was even a word, when one of the biggest things making the headlines in the US was an investigation into a college admissions scandal – now known as Operation Varsity Blues.
More than 50 parents were accused of paying huge sums of money to a third party organisation in order to secure positions at top universities for their children. This included a father who paid $6.5 million to ensure his daughter was accepted into Stanford University. But the two accused parents who received the most coverage were actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.
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The mastermind behind the scam was Rick Singer, an education expert who used part of the money to fraudulently inflate entrance exam results and bribe officials. He has since pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
Now, Netflix’s latest true crime docu-series will retell the whole tale…
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Documentary-maker Chris Smith, the man behind Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened and Tiger King, uses re-enactments as well as talking heads to create the Operation Varsity Blues docu-series. It uses a combination of interviews and narrative recreations of the FBI’s wiretapped conversations between Singer (played by Matthew Modine) and his clients.
Watch the trailer for Operation Varsity Blues
There is the serious issue of inequality and the abuse of privilege in society raised in the docu-series, but it also offers the sort of juicy exploration of a scandal that we can all use for a little distraction from the pandemic right now.
“I think as far as some of those parents were concerned, this is how it works in the USA,” Smith told BBC News. “They’re familiar with the idea that if you’re wealthy and connected, a whole different system of rules apply. Think of fast passes to amusement parks and first-class aeroplane tickets that allow you to skip the queues. This may seem like a natural extension of the idea.”
Operation Varsity Blues is available to watch on Netflix now.
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