The Activist: After Backlash, Priyanka Chopra's Co-Host Julianne Hough Pens Note

Julianne Hough, who'll be judging The Activist along with Priyanka Chopra & Usher, writes why she signed the show.

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Priyanka Chopra, Usher &amp; Julianne Hough will feature as judges in <em>The Activist</em>.</p></div>

Julianne Hough has responded to the backlash regarding her upcoming reality series The Activist, which also features Priyanka Chopra and Usher as judges. Produced by CBS and Global Citizen, the series will pit six activists from around the world against each other. Their success will be judged on the basis of their social media campaigns. The premise of the show has been criticised as tone-deaf.

On Tuesday, Julianne took to Instagram to pen a long note responding to the criticism.


“The last few days have been a powerful demonstration of real-time activism. Thank you for using your voices, calling me in, your accountability, and your candor. I am deeply listening with an open heart and mind.”

Hough wrote that it was brought to her attention that the show was being termed as 'performative', 'promoting pseudo-activism over real activism', and that the hosts 'weren't qualified to assess activism because we are celebrities and not activists'.

“I heard you say there was hypocrisy in the show 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,” she added. “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.”

Julianne continued, “And because of 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.”

Julianne also addresses the 2013 blackface controversy, where she showed up at a Beverly Hills bash as 'Crazy Eyes', a character played by Uzo Aduba in Orange is the New Black. “Wearing blackface was a poor choice based on my own white privilege and my own white body bias that hurt people and is something I regret doing to this day,” she wrote. “However, the regret that I live with pales in comparison to the lived experiences of so many. My commitment has been to reflect and act differently. Not perfectly, but hopefully with a more developed understanding that racism and white supremacy is harmful to ALL people,” she wrote.

Speaking about the reason she signed The Activist Julianne wrote, "It feels important for me to share that 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. In doing so, I felt it would help educate, mobilize, and inspire people around the world to get involved in activism because many worthy causes need attention, funding, and most importantly the power to effect real change.”

She concluded with, "I also understand that 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 am still listening.”

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!