CBS is bringing a new competition show, The Activist. In order to create awareness about important issues, six activists will participate in this show. To help them achieve their goals, Usher, Priyanka Chopra, and Julianne Hough will mentor them. However, the show is receiving a lot of backlash from people on social media. People are calling out the show makers and the celebrities for their performative activism.
In collaboration with The Global Citizen, CBS show, The Activist will release in October
Just like any other competition show, The Activist will feature six aspiring activists who will go head to head to win prize money for their cause. At the same time, they will be fighting for an appearance at G20 Summit in Italy. In order to mentor and help the contestants, Priyanka Chopra, Usher, and Julianne Hough will host the show. Throughout the show, there will be challenges to promote their causes. These challenges will be judged based on the social media engagement, social metrics, and the input of hosts. According to Hugh Evans, CEO of The Global Citizen:
The Activist is a first-of-its-kind competition series that will inspire real change, as the series progresses from the United States to Rome for the Activists’ final challenge at the G20. The audience will see the activists’ passion and commitment for their causes tested as they petition world leaders to take urgent action to resolve the interconnected crises we face.
Instantly after the launch of this show, it received major backlash
That said, the positive news related to the show ended soon after it went public on social media. From top news outlets to social media, everyone had an opinion about The Activist, but it wasn’t a nice one. The Guardian and Forbes even went as far as calling it ‘performative activism’. Simultaneously, Twitter expressed its anger and disappointment. Moreover, many celebrities and activists joined the public to call out the show on Twitter. For instance, Jameela Jamil said in a tweet:
Couldn’t they just give the money it’s going to take to pay this UNBELIEVABLY expensive talent and make this show, directly to activist causes? Rather than turning activism into a game and then giving a fraction of the much needed money away in a “prize…?” People are dying.
Likewise, Canadian author and social activist, Naomi Klein said:
I’m confused: Is this an advanced Marxist critique to expose how competition for money and attention pits activists against each other + undermines deep change? Or just the end of the world?
Moreover, Indian journalist, Vidya Krishnan heavily criticized Priyanka Chopra for her participation in The Activist.
Meanwhile, one Twitter user thought it undermines the struggles of real activists.
Similarly, another user said:
From now on I’m just gonna start calling everything “Idiocracy”. That has to be the most accurately prophetic piece of art since Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the Talents”.
On the other hand, some Twitter users tried to lighten the mood with humor.
Despite the backlash, The Activist show makers are set to release the show on Paramount+. So far, none of the hosts have commented on the criticism. But we’ll have to see how the hosts and CBS proceeds with it after the backlash.