- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
One of the hosts of CBS’ upcoming The Activist reality show has issued a statement agreeing with some of the criticism of the series.
Actress and dancer Julianne Hough posted a multi-page reaction on Instagram responding the controversy surrounding the series, where six activists compete against each other to draw social media attention to various causes and are then judged by celebrities Hough, Usher and Priyanka Chopra Jonas.
While only the show’s description has been released so far — no trailer or episodes yet — critics have slammed the show as performative and misguided (one environmental online campaign activist dubbed it “the worst idea for a TV show ever”). Some have singled out Hough, who once wore blackface for a 2013 Halloween party, as perhaps not the best person to judge a group of progressive activists.
Now the two-time Dancing With the Stars winner and judge has taken the unusual step of issuing a detailed reply that echoed many of the criticisms of the series and suggested she’s gone to the show’s producers urging changes to the format.
“I heard you say the show was performative, promoted pseudo-activism over real activism, felt tone-deaf, like Black Mirror, The Hunger Games, and that the hosts weren’t qualified to assess activism because they were celebrities and not activists,” Hough wrote. “I heard you say there was hypocrisy in the show because at the root of all activism is a fight against capitalism and the trauma that it causes so many people and that the show itself felt like a shiny capitalistic endeavor.”
“I also heard you say that trying to value one cause over another felt like the Oppression Olympics and totally missed and disrespected the many activists who have been killed, assaulted and faced various abuses fighting for their causes,” she continued. “And because of all this, there is a feeling of insult, dehumanization, insensitivity and hurt that is being rightfully felt.”
“I do not claim to be an activist and wholeheartedly agree that the judging aspect of the show missed the mark and, furthermore, that I am not qualified to act as a judge,” she wrote. “On top of all of this, many people are just becoming aware that I wore blackface in 2013, which only further added insult to injury. Wearing blackface was a poor choice based on my own white privilege and white body bias that hurt people and is something I regret doing to this day …”
“The original reason I signed on to this show was because I was really excited to be a part of something that highlights, and is centered around sharing activists’ work on a larger platform,” she noted. “In doing so, I felt it would help educate, mobilize, and inspire people around the world to get involved in activism …”
Hough went on to suggest she’s gone to the show’s producers and/or CBS with her concerns about the series and that changes might be made to The Activist before it airs.
“I’ve shared your concerns, as well as my own, with the powers that be, who I believe have listened,” she continued. “I have faith and confidence in the beautiful people that I’ve worked with will make the right choice and do the right thing moving forward … I’m going to continue to listen, unlearn, learn and take the time to be fully present with everything you have all shared … I also understand there is no response that I could share that would make everyone happy, however, I want you to know that this is a conversation and I’m still listening.”
For its part, CBS has been silent on the matter of the five-week series, which premieres Oct. 22 and is produced by Global Citizen, Live Nation and Deviants Media.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day