John Legend has a message for people who are mad at Felicity Huffman's light sentence. While the Twittersphere was notably riled at what appeared to be another rich person getting off light, Legend said the real tragedy is the long sentences other people get in the first place. In short, we shouldn't call for longer sentences for rich people, we should be fighting for shorter sentences for all.
"I get why everyone gets mad when rich person X gets a short sentence and poor person of color Y gets a long one," he said to TMZ. "The answer isn't for X to get more; it's for both of them to get less (or even none!!!). We should level down not up."
Huffman, as one of the upper-class types at the center of a college admissions cheating scandal, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and honest services fraud. She received a sentence of just 14 days in prison, as well as a year of supervised release, 250 hours of community service, and $30,000 in fines. That 14-day sentence was half of the month-long sentence recommended by prosecutors.
The judge in Huffman's case defended the sentence as she was handing it down, seemingly giving up on the idea of meritocracy in a rather jaded explanation.
"This is a system which does not have a pure meritocracy and a person in position of wealth and position you are is in a much easier position in this meritocracy of college admissions," U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani said. "I don't think anyone wants to be going to prison, I do think this is the right sentence here."
Huffman, for her part, apologized during the hearing.
"I am deeply sorry to the students, parents, colleges and universities impacted by my actions," she said. "I have inflicted more damage (on her daughter) than I could've ever imagined. I was frightened, I was stupid and I was so wrong. I am deeply ashamed of what I have done."
Huffman will begin serving her sentence next month.