- Priyanka Chopra Jonas posted a statement on Instagram apologizing for her involvement in “The Activist.”
- The series was set to have six activists compete for funding with Chopra Jonas as one of three judges.
- Chopra Jonas said the show’s intention was to “bring light” to activists’ work but “got it wrong.”
Priyanka Chopra Jonas released a statement on Instagram yesterday addressing the backlash following her involvement in CBS’ “The Activist.”
According to Deadline, the series, originally set to be a reality TV competition, would have pitted six activists against each other and three winners would get to pitch their causes to the G20 summit to receive funding.
Last week, Deadline reported that Chopra Jonas along with singer Usher and dancer Julianne Hough would be the judges of the series. This announcement faced backlash and ridicule from celebrities, activists, and politicians including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman, and Jameela Jamil.
—Clover Hogan (@cloverhogan) September 11, 2021
Climate activist Clover Hogan posted a thread claiming that she was approached to appear on the show but declined when she found out it was a competition. Speaking to Vulture, Hogan said: “Their whole thing about, ‘We’re giving a platform to activists, and we’re giving them access to resources’ — all of that screams disingenuous. I feel for the people who have gone through this process right until the end.”
On Thursday, Chopra Jonas apologized in a statement for participating in the show saying she had been “moved” by the criticisms of the show.
“The show got it wrong, and I’m sorry that my participation in it disappointed many of you,” the 39-year-old actress said on Instagram. “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.”
Following the backlash, Global Citizen, CBS, and LiveNation — the producers of the show — released a statement apologizing for making the series a competition
—Global Citizen (@GlblCtzn) September 15, 2021
“Global activism centers on collaboration and cooperation, not competition. We apologize to the activists, hosts, and the larger activist community — we got it wrong,” the statement read. “It is our responsibility to use this platform in the most effective way to realize change and elevate the incredible activists dedicating their lives to progress all around the world.”
The statement also explained that the series will remove the competition element and instead become “a primetime documentary special” showcasing the six activists’ work and award a cash grant for the organization of their choice.
Chopra Jonas’ fellow judge Hough also responded to backlash over her position in the show following her 2013 blackface controversy where she wore blackface makeup to dress up as Uzo Aduba’s “Orange Is the New Black” character for Halloween.
“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,” she wrote in a statement posted on Instagram. “Wearing blackface was a poor choice based on my own white privilege and white body bias that hurt people and is something that I regret doing to this day.”