When F. Scott Fitzgerald famously uttered, “The rich are different from you and me,” Ernest Hemingway quipped, “Yes, they have more money.”
Our response would have been equally dismissive, but a bit more peevish — something along the lines of “yeah, no sh-t, Scotty. When they get convicted of federal crimes, they spend less than two weeks behind bars, and they roll up to their cushy community service assignments in six-figure sports cars.”
Take a look at the strange case of Felicity Huffman, for example.
Back in March, Huffman pled guilty to paying an SAT proctor in order to help her daughter cheat on the exam, thus ensuring the girl a place in the college of her choice.
There were rumors that the judge was planning to throw the book at the actress, but in the end, Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison.
Those who considered the punishment ridiculously lenient were even more incensed when Felicity was released 3 days early, serving just 11 days behind bars.
Last week, Huffman was released from jail, and she promptly got all emotional, because that’s what she’s been doing at every stage of this process.
And now, the second stage of her sentence begins.
In keeping with the “slap on the wrist/white privilege” motif that’s thus far characterized Huffman’s jaunt through our criminal justice system, the actress must pay a $30,000 fine and serve 50 hours of community service.
Earlier this week, she was spotted leaving The Teen Project, an organization dedicated to helping at-risk youth.
It’s fitting, in a way, as kids from disadvantaged backgrounds are the ones who are less likely to be admitted to college because rich people insist on buying a place in the student body for their already-insanely-privileged kids.
Apparently to pour salt in the woods of those who feel this was a grave miscarriage of justice, Huffman was reportedly chauffeured from the facility in her husband’s Porsche.
So has she learned anything from any of this?
Almost certainly not, but she talked a good game throughout the sentencing process:
“I’m sorry to you, judge. I am deeply sorry to the students, parents and colleges impacted by my actions,” the Emmy-winner said in court. “I am sorry to my daughters and my husband. I have betrayed them all.
“I think this is the right sentence here,” U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani told Huffman at the time of her sentencing.
“You can move forward and rebuild your life after this. Without this sentence, I think the community around you would ask why you got away with this.”
Yeah, because we’re sure a harsher sentence would’ve made it impossible for the rich, famous actress to rebuild her life.
During her pre-sentencing testimony, Huffman recalled the emotional turmoil she’s suffered as a result of her actions.
“My mind keeps returning to the 30-minute drive to the testing center. I kept thinking, ‘Turn around,'”
Huffman says the worst part of the whole ordeal was when her daughter asked why she didn’t believe in her ability to get into college on her own:
“I had no answer,” Huffman said.
“I can only say I’m so sorry, Sophia. I was frightened, I was stupid, and I was so wrong. I am deeply ashamed of what I have done. I have done more damage than I could ever imagine. I realize now with my mothering that love and truth go hand in hand. I take full responsibility for my actions.”
When an awkward conversation with a teen was the worst part of committing a federal crime, you know the sentence wasn’t harsh enough.