Ever since Lori Loughlin’s indictment two weeks ago, when she was charged along with nearly 50 other people for allegedly participating in a college admission bribery scam, her “Fuller House” co-stars have understandably stayed quiet.
The day after the news broke, John Stamos offered a “no comment” to TMZ; Jodie Sweetin also declined to open up to TMZ cameras, though the site noted “she seemed even more upset than John.” On his late-night show, Jimmy Kimmel didn’t even bother asking Bob Saget about his thoughts.
However, the cast apparently decided to address the shocking scandal this past weekend at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in Los Angeles. It was, frankly, a brief but masterful lesson in public relations.
Things started when the cast from the Netflix show picked up the prize for Favorite Funny TV Show. Sweetin, Candace Cameron Bure, Andrea Barber, Elias Harger, Soni Bringas, Scott Weinger and Michael Campion walked onstage to accept the trophy — though the three longest-serving cast members (Bure, Sweetin and Barber, all regulars back in the “Full House” days in the ‘90s) did the talking in a seemingly choreographed speech.
“Thank you for voting ‘Fuller House’ as your favorite funny TV show!” Barber told the cheering crowd. “You have been laughing alongside our family for four seasons. And this family has a lot of heart.”
“And where there’s a lot of heart, there’s a lot of love,” Bure continued. She added a pointed message: “And a loving family sticks together no matter what. They stick together through the hard times, they support each other, they encourage one another, they pray for each other — and they stand by their side no matter how tough it gets. And a loving family that sticks together also celebrates the really good times together.”
“And this is one of those good times!” Sweetin piped up. “Thank you guys so much. You have stuck with us for 30 years and we love you all . . . we promise the fifth and final season is going to be amazing.”
So, they managed to:
1. Obliquely reference the scandal (sorry, “hard times”) in a controlled environment — at the Kids’ Choice Awards, which is aimed at a tween audience, so there likely wouldn’t be any tough follow-up questions.
2. Earn a ton of headlines (USA Today: “‘Fuller House’ cast after Lori Loughlin college scandal: ‘A loving family sticks together’”; Vanity Fair: “It Sounds Like the Women of ‘Fuller House’ Have Lori Loughlin’s Back”), far more than any other stunt on the show, which included Chris Pratt getting slimed, and Kylie Jenner making a cameo to cheer on host DJ Khaled.
3. Have plausible deniability — after all, they never said Loughlin’s name!
4. Look like kind and supportive people. That kind of goodwill can’t be underestimated.
5. Plug the fact that “Fuller House” will soon return for a fifth and final season. (Although Loughlin is reportedly not expected to come back to her recurring role.)
Again, it was a small moment, but an extremely effective one.
In the meantime, Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, have stayed under the radar since their arrest. They are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella, into the University of Southern California under the false guise of being team crew recruits.
Tabloids such as Us Weekly have reported that Loughlin — who was dropped from the Hallmark Channel in the days after the scandal — is living her “worst nightmare” and that she “believed her heart was in the right place” when she allegedly “helped” her daughters with their college admission.