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Lori Loughlin's daughter was on USC board chairman's yacht when scandal broke

Olivia Giannulli, an influential YouTube and Instagram personality, has faced a backlash in the wake of a college admission cheating scandal.
/ Source: TODAY

The charges brought against actress Lori Loughlin in a widespread college admissions cheating scheme have also put a harsh spotlight on her youngest daughter.

Olivia Giannulli, 19, a social media influencer who has nearly two million followers on YouTube, has become a focus of backlash after the Justice Department alleged that Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli paid $500,000 to help fraudulently boost the chances of their two daughters getting admitted to the University of Southern California.

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Giannulli, who goes by the name Olivia Jade on YouTube, has found herself being labeled as the poster child of entitled rich kids. The latest instance came when TMZ reported and NBC News confirmed that she was celebrating spring break in the Bahamas on a yacht owned by USC chairman Rick Caruso when news of the scandal broke on Tuesday.

Caruso's daughter, Gianna, is friends with Giannulli.

"Once we became aware of the investigation, the young woman decided it would be in her best interest to return home,'' Rick Caruso told TMZ.

Representatives of the Giannulli family did not respond to requests for comment by TODAY.

Loughlin was released on $1 million bond after appearing in federal court in Los Angeles on Wednesday. The actress, best known for playing Aunt Becky on “Full House," is among 33 wealthy parents that include CEOs, a doctor, a lawyer, and fellow actress Felicity Huffman, who have been charged with paying bribes to get their children into top universities.

Olivia Giannulli, who has not been charged with any crime, had already drawn criticism in August when she said in one of her videos that she didn't care about college. The video received a host of comments calling her "privileged" and "spoiled."

“I don’t know how much of school I’m gonna attend,” she said in the video. “But I’m gonna go in and talk to my deans and everyone, and hope that I can try and balance it all. But I do want the experience of, like, game days, partying ... I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know."

She later posted a video apology on her YouTube channel.

"I'm really sorry to anyone I offended by saying I wasn't excited to do schoolwork, and for anything else I said that made me sound kind of like an idiot,'' she said in the video.

However, the scandal has brought renewed backlash calling Giannulli entitled. She also spoke in another YouTube video about having gotten an assistant.

"She's sitting there with all her money, like she doesn't really need college, and to find out she's paying to get into a selective school that she doesn't really wanna go to, it's kind of irritating,'' USC applicant Jada Young said on TODAY Thursday.

Giannulli also has sponsorships with major brands for her YouTube channel, and critics are pressuring those companies to drop their support of her.

Tech company HP decided to cut ties, saying it was wiping a 2017 campaign featuring Giannulli and her mother from its properties. On Thursday, beauty giant Sephora announced it also was ending its partnership with Giannulli.

"After careful review of recent developments, we have made the decision to end the Sephora Collection partnership with Olivia Jade, effective immediately," Sephora told NBC News in a statement.

Critics were also now calling for schools to remove the students who gained entry into top colleges under false pretenses or faked test scores from the scheme. Giannulli's older sister, Isabella, is also a student at USC.

Court documents allege that Loughlin and Giannulli resorted to bribes starting with Isabella's admission to USC because "(Isabella's) academic qualifications were at or just below the low end of USC's admission standards."

USC said in a statement to TODAY that the university is conducting "a case-by-case review for current students and graduates that may be connected to the scheme."