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CBS has decided to revise its original format for its reality series, “The Activist,” in response to the public backlash.
In the show, six contestants would compete in a variety of activism-themed contests, including media stunts, digital campaigns and community events. The contests were to be judged by r&b singer Usher, Julianne Hough and Priyanka Chopra. Contestants would then before appearing at a summit of world leaders in Italy.
Gentrifying activism was never going to go down well.
“The Activist was designed to show a wide audience the passion, long hours, and ingenuity that activists put into changing the world, hopefully inspiring others to do the same,” the network said in a statement per CNN.
“However, it has become apparent the format of the show as announced distracts from the vital work these incredible activists do in their communities every day,” the statement reads. “The push for global change is not a competition and requires a global effort. As a result, we are changing the format to remove the competitive element and reimagining the concept into a primetime documentary special (air date to be announced).”
However, the show faced further criticism after social media rehashed Hough’s 2013 Halloween costume in which she went full-on Blackface, dressing up as Uzo Aduba’s “Orange Is The New Black” character, Crazy Eyes.
Hough issued an apology.
“I heard you say that the show was performative, promoted pseudo-activism over real activism, felt done-deaf, like ‘Black Mirror,’ ‘The Hunger Games,’ and that the hosts weren’t qualified to assess activism because we are celebrities and not activists,” she wrote.
She went on to admit that she doesn’t “claim to be an activist and wholeheartedly” agrees “that the judging aspect of the show missed the mark, and furthermore, that I am not qualified to act as a judge.”
Maybe involving actual activists would be a start.