A few days ago, CBS announced its new reality show, The Activist. According to the premises, six activists will go head to head in a competition to win prize money. Usher, Julianne Hough, and Priyanka Chopra will judge the contestants. However, the news was met with heavy criticism and backlash. Therefore, the producers have decided to change the format to make it seem less like a reality show. At the same time, the judges have apologized for participating in the show.
Shortly after the announcement was made, Twitter and critics slammed the show and judges
On The Activist, six inspiring activists will fight to highlight their causes in front of the judges. Meanwhile, they will judge them on the basis of digital campaigns, social media engagement, and community events. In the end, the winner will get to attend the G20 summit in Rome and raise funds for their cause. The judges will be Usher, Priyanka Chopra, and Julianne Hough. When CBS announced the news, it did not sit well with people. From criticizing the concept to bashing the judges, people expressed their anger on social media. At the same time, many activists and journalists came forward with their opinions on The Activist. Yuen Chan, a journalist from Hong Kong wrote:
“As activists are jailed, maimed and killed around the world, this is grotesque.”
Meanwhile, writer and activist, Stephanie Yeboah posted a tweet:
“This is truly horrific, lol. A reality competition show on who can be the next Insta-activist? It’s performative at best, and kinda makes light of the hard work a lot of grassroots organizations do on the ground, on a daily basis. Gross.”
After the backlash, the producers of The Activist decided to revamp it entirely
Although it came a bit late, the show makers realized their mistake. Along with CBS, Global Citizen and Live Nation partnered up to produce The Activist. After the criticism, they released a joint statement. According to the new concept, The Activist will not be a competition or a reality show, rather a documentary-style show. In the statement, they said:
“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. 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.”
Furthermore, they said:
“As a result, we are changing the format to remove the competitive element and reimagining the concept into a primetime documentary special.”
Initially, The Activist was set to release in October. However, the new dated will be announced later.
The criticism also prompted Priyanka Chopra and Julianne Hough to apologize
While The Activist is getting a facelift, the judges, Priyanka Chopra and Julianne Hough are also making amends. Firstly, it was Mrs. Jonas who came forward with the apology. In an Instagram post, she addressed the critics of The Activist and said that the criticism moved her. She wrote:
“The show got it wrong, and I’m sorry that my participation in it disappointed many of you. The intention was always to bring attention to the people behind the ideas and highlight the actions and impact of the causes they support tirelessly. I’m happy to know that in this new format, their stories will be the highlight, and I’m proud to collaborate with partners who have their ear to the ground and know when it’s time to hit pause and re-evaluate.”
At the same time, The Activist co-judge, Julianne Hough also apologized for her part in the show. According to her, she wanted to be a part of something that highlights the important work activists are doing on a bigger level. However, it backfired and she realized her mistake. In a statement, she said:
I understand why some people felt like the show sounded like the ‘Oppression Olympics’ and might have disrespected many activists. Also, I do not claim to be an activist and wholeheartedly agree that the judging aspect of the show missed the mark. Furthermore, that I am not qualified to act as a judge.
While The Activist producers have taken the criticism in a positive way, we still have to see if the show can live up to the hype.