The creators of a new reality program pitting campaigners promoting charitable causes against each other were compelled to change course following a massive criticism, with one of the show’s stars apologizing for her participation on Thursday.
“The Activist,” whose opening was announced this week, was set to air on American network CBS in October and was co-produced by the non-governmental organization Global Citizen, with celebrity hosts including Usher, Priyanka Chopra, and Julianne Hough.
But, just as they were announcing their plans for the “groundbreaking” programming they claimed would inspire real change, the show’s producers announced they were drastically changing it, ditching the competitive activism-themed contests and switching to a one-time documentary instead of a multi-episode series.
In an online apology, Global Citizen stated, “We got it wrong.” “Global activism centers on collaboration and cooperation, not competition.”
CBS had said the audience of the original show would follow the adventures of “six activists from around the world working to bring meaningful change to one of three urgent universal causes: health, education and the environment.”
The finale was set to take place in late October in Rome at the Group of 20 summits of international leaders.
However, CBS stated that the format “distracts from the vital work these incredible activists do in their communities every day,” and that the concept would be redesigned as a non-competitive prime-time special.
“I have been moved by the power of your voices over the past week,” Chopra told her 27 million Twitter followers Thursday.
“The show got it wrong, and I’m sorry that my participation in it disappointed many of you.”
As per France24, Hough acknowledged on Instagram that the show’s concept “felt like the Oppression Olympics” to some and that it disrespected activists who have faced abuse, or even been killed, fighting for their causes.
She said, “The judging aspect of the show missed the mark.”