The show will no longer be a reality competition (Picture: Getty/Rex)
The producers behind the widely slammed reality competition that pit activists against each other for funding have admitted they ‘got it wrong’.
The Activist, hosted by Priyanka Chopra, Usher and Julianne Hough, will now be reimagined as a documentary special, after widespread criticism of its ‘dystopian’ format.
The series was set to pit six activists against each other in a series of challenges promoting their favoured cause, with their success measured via online engagement, social metrics, and hosts’ input.
The contestants would then advance to the G20 Summit in Rome where they would meet with world leaders in the attempt of securing funding and awareness for their causes, with the team who received the largest commitment crowned the winner – America’s next top activist, if you will.
It will come as no surprise that the idea went down like a lead balloon on social media, with the show branded ‘dystopian bulls***’, ‘performative activism’, ‘peak capitalism’ and a ‘real life Black Mirror’.
Now, CBS and producers Global Citizen have backpedalled on the premise, and it will now be a documentary special instead.
In a statement, CBS, Live Nation and Global Citizen 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. The push for global change is not a competition and requires a global effort.’
They added that the docuseries would ‘showcase the tireless work of six activists and the impact they have advocating for causes they deeply believe in. Each activist will be awarded a cash grant for the organisation of their choice, as was planned for the original show.’
‘Activists and community leaders around the world work every day, often without fanfare, to advance protections for people, communities, and our planet. We hope that by showcasing their work we will inspire more people to become more involved in addressing the world’s most pressing issues. We look forward to highlighting the mission and lives of each of these incredible people.’
Global Citizen added in a separate statement on Instagram: ‘Global activism centres on collaboration and cooperation, not competition. We apologise to the activists, hosts and the larger activist community — we got it wrong.’
The new special will no longer premiere on October 22, as was planned for the reality series.
Earlier in the week, host Julianne Hough had addressed the controversy with an Instagram statement, saying she was listening to the backlash.
The dancer said: ‘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 endeavour.
‘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.
‘And because of this, there is a feeling of insult, dehumanisation, 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.’
Priyanka Chopra and Usher have not yet remarked on the controversy.