Entertainment

The Activist is labeled ‘abhorrent’ and ‘despicable’ on Twitter


It was announced with an all-star trio of hosts including Priyanka Chopra, Julianne Hough and Usher.

But star power wasn’t enough to make CBS’ upcoming reality competition The Activist palatable to social media users.

Twitter users settled in to rip the series to shreds for its premise, which many found distasteful. 

Ripped to shreds: Twitter was up in arms after the new CBS reality series The Activist was announced on Thursday. Priyanka Chopra, Julianne Hough and Usher will host the series; Chopra seen in 2019 in Cannes

According to Deadline, The Activist is a competitive reality series in which six activists will be joined by three public figures to make significant changes to environmental issues, healthcare and education. 

But rather than measuring a meaningful change, the winner of the competition will be determined based on ‘online engagement, social metrics, and hosts’ input.’ 

The teams will have the chance to go to Rome for the upcoming G20 Summit, and whichever group can get the biggest funding commitment from diplomats at the summit will be crowned the winner in a ceremony featuring musical performances.

Some Twitter users were instantly reminded of the infamous and ill-fated Pepsi ad starring Kendall Jenner in which she appeared to resolve an unspecified protest by handing a police officer a can of Pepsi. 

Bad memories: Some Twitter users were instantly reminded of the infamous and ill-fated Pepsi ad starring Kendall Jenner in which she appeared to resolve an unspecified protest by handing a police officer a can of Pepsi

Bad memories: Some Twitter users were instantly reminded of the infamous and ill-fated Pepsi ad starring Kendall Jenner in which she appeared to resolve an unspecified protest by handing a police officer a can of Pepsi

In the spotlight: Others criticized Chopra for her support of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has embraced Hindu nationalism and right-wing populism, and her dismissal of Pakistani concerns

In the spotlight: Others criticized Chopra for her support of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has embraced Hindu nationalism and right-wing populism, and her dismissal of Pakistani concerns

Oh dear: The TV writer Broti Gupta managed to tie in the controversy over The Activist to Jeopardy!'s recent disaster with now axed host and producer Mike Richards

Oh dear: The TV writer Broti Gupta managed to tie in the controversy over The Activist to Jeopardy!’s recent disaster with now axed host and producer Mike Richards 

At the time, viewers criticized the advertisement for diminishing the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement and misrepresenting the reality of racial justice protests around the US. 

One Twitter user posted a still of Jenner delivering her Pepsi and mockingly captioned wrote: ‘I go on the activist reality show and do this and everyone including the judges are screaming and crying.’

Others singled out the judges and their past behavior as reasons for why The Activist was misguided.

Chopra has previously been criticized for her support of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has embraced Hindu nationalism and right-wing populism.

In 2019, she was publicly called out at Beautycon for a tweet supporting India’s military among rising tensions with neighboring Pakistan. ‘The same priyanka chopra who told a pakistani activist to “stop venting”? okay,’ mused one user.

Offensive: Other users dug up Julianne Hough's infamous 2013 blackface scandal, when she tried to dress up as Orange Is The New Black's Crazy Eyes, who is Black

Offensive: Other users dug up Julianne Hough’s infamous 2013 blackface scandal, when she tried to dress up as Orange Is The New Black’s Crazy Eyes, who is Black

Surprising turn of events: '"the activist" and this is deada** one of the hosts?' wrote the shocked user; Hough seen in July in Cap d'Antibes, France

Surprising turn of events: ‘”the activist” and this is deada** one of the hosts?’ wrote the shocked user; Hough seen in July in Cap d’Antibes, France

Other Twitter users criticized co-host Julianne Hough, who was previously embroiled in her own racism scandal.

In 2013, she dressed up for Halloween as Orange Is The New Black character Crazy Eyes.

The character was portrayed on the Netflix series by Uzo Aduba, who is Black.

As part of her costume, Julianne dressed up in orange scrubs to approximate a prison uniform and wore blackface.

‘”the activist” and this is deada** one of the hosts?’ wrote one shocked user who posted Hough’s blackface photos.

The dancer and actress later apologized for the offensive display.  

No laughing matter: Some users took a more serious approach with their complaints and stood up for activists

No laughing matter: Some users took a more serious approach with their complaints and stood up for activists

Dangerous: Another wrote, 'As activists are jailed, maimed and killed around the world, this is grotesque.'

Dangerous: Another wrote, ‘As activists are jailed, maimed and killed around the world, this is grotesque.’

Little of both: One person combined complaints about the series with a dig at Chopra

Little of both: One person combined complaints about the series with a dig at Chopra

Some users took a more serious approach with their complaints.

‘Dear activist risking your life challenging war criminals, we are sorry to let you know that you didn’t get enough “likes” to survive the completion!’ complained one person. ‘Usher didnt cry when you presented your tragedy either. So you can die in prison silently, or shouting in the Mediterranean.’

Another wrote, ‘As activists are jailed, maimed and killed around the world, this is grotesque.’ 

One person combined complaints about the series with a dig at Chopra.

‘like yea using activism as a competition where it is funneled into social media influence is absolutely abhorrent and completely dilutes the importance and impacts of organizing and grassroots effors [sic] but also remember when priyanka chopra asked an activist if she was done venting.’

Fatima Bhutto wrote that, ‘The good news is that no actual activists would be caught dead on this show.’ 

Nothing to worry about: Fatima Bhutto wrote that, 'The good news is that no actual activists would be caught dead on this show'

Nothing to worry about: Fatima Bhutto wrote that, ‘The good news is that no actual activists would be caught dead on this show’

Simple solution: Jameela Jamil wondered why CBS couldn't just make a donation instead of wasting money on a reality show

Simple solution: Jameela Jamil wondered why CBS couldn’t just make a donation instead of wasting money on a reality show

'The Activist Hunger Games': Others just delighted in seeing the pile on. 'It's nice to see Twitter united over how despicable the Activist Hunger Games are,' one social media user wrote

‘The Activist Hunger Games’: Others just delighted in seeing the pile on. ‘It’s nice to see Twitter united over how despicable the Activist Hunger Games are,’ one social media user wrote

Jameela Jamil wondered why CBS couldn’t just make a donation instead of wasting money on a reality show.

”Couldn’t they just give the money it’s going to take to pay this UNBELIEVABLY expensive talent and make this show, directly to activist causes? Rather than turning activism into a game and then giving a fraction of the much needed money away in a “prize…?”‘

She added bluntly: ‘People are dying.’

Others just delighted in seeing the pile on.

‘It’s nice to see Twitter united over how despicable the Activist Hunger Games are,’ one social media user wrote.

The TV writer Broti Gupta managed to tie in the controversy over The Activist to Jeopardy!’s recent hosting snafu.

‘You guys aren’t gonna believe who CBS got to host the activist show,’ she joked while posting a photo of Mike Richards, the Jeopardy! producer who briefly won the job of host before being fired from both his roles over recently resurfaced offensive comments.



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