Julianne Hough admitted she is “not qualified to act as a judge” on CBS’ upcoming show, The Activist — in which various activists compete against each other — but still plans to serve as a judge on CBS’ upcoming show, The Activist.
The Activist has faced sharp criticism since it was announced earlier this month. Produced by the international advocacy organization, Global Citizen, the reality show is set to pit six activists against each other in various challenges meant to raise the profiles of their respective causes. The activists will then try to secure funding and awareness from world leaders, and the cause that receives the biggest commitment will be crowned the winner. Hough was tapped to serve as one of the three celebrity judges, along with Usher and Priyanka Chopra Jonas.
So far, Hough is the only one of the judges to acknowledge the numerous criticisms of the show, which she repeated in her Instagram post. Among them, that 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 we are celebrities and not activists”; that the show was hypocritical because “at the root of 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”; and that pitting causes against each other can “feel 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.”
Hough also acknowledged that the judging part of the show “missed the mark,” then — after a digression in which she apologized for wearing blackface in 2013 — she explained why she signed onto The Activist in the first place and said she would “continue to listen, unlearn, learn, and take the time to be fully present with everything that you have all shared.”
Nevertheless, as it stands, Hough still plans to work on the show.
CBS did not immediately return a request for comment regarding the criticism being heaped on The Activist or Hough’s statements. Global Citizen had previously issued a statement defending the show, saying, “The Activist spotlights individuals who’ve made it their life’s work to change the world for the better, as well as the incredible and often challenging work they do on the ground in their communities. This is not a reality show to trivialize activism. On the contrary, our aim is to support activists everywhere, show the ingenuity and dedication they put into their work, and amplify their causes to an even wider audience.”