'The Activist': CBS, Priyanka Chopra slammed for turning activism into a 'game'

'Why the hell is there a TV show that turns activists into a competition when the whole essence of activism is solidarity and community,' said a user

                            'The Activist': CBS, Priyanka Chopra slammed for turning activism into a 'game'
CBS show ‘The Activist’ will be hosted by Usher, Priyanka Chopra and Julliane Hough (Gary Gershoff, Jon Kopaloff, Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

CBS is coming out with a reality competition titled ‘The Activist’, in which six activists will be joined by three public figures to make significant changes to environmental issues, healthcare, and education. The teams will have a chance to go to Rome for the G20 Summit and whichever group can get the biggest funding commitment from diplomats at the summit will be crowned the winner.

The show will be hosted by the trio of Usher, Priyanka Chopra, and Julianne Hough.

As soon as the details of the show surfaced online, the stars, along with the network, faced a strong backlash from social media users. A lot of people believed that the show is a complete joke and the production giants are trying to mock people who are doing some really great work in the field of activism.


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The premise of the show led to a huge amount of backlash from users and some celebrities as well. Actress-turned-activist Jameela Jamil said that the network should just donate the money instead of turning activism into a game.

“Can’t they just donate the money needed to pay for this INCREDIBLY expensive talent and make this show directly to activist causes? Instead of turning activism into a game and then giving away a fraction of the much-needed money in a ‘prize…?’ People are dying,” Jamil wrote.


One used shared, “1. Why the hell are they rating this 2. Why the hell is there a TV show that turns activists into a competition when the whole *essence* of activism is solidarity and community. This is absolutely the worst.” Meanwhile, another user noted, “This is truly horrific, lol. A reality competition show on who can be the next Insta-activist? It's performative at best, and kinda makes light of the hard work a lot of grassroots organizations do on the ground, on a daily basis. Gross.”

“Ooooh, I can’t wait for the catfights and activist vs activist shadow! And the reunion show? Someone is being served!” joked one fan while trolling the makers for the series.







Meanwhile, there were some users who took a more serious approach to their issues.

“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! Usher didn't cry when you presented your tragedy either. So you can die in prison silently, or shouting in the Mediterranean,” wrote Zaina Erhaim, a Syrian journalist.

“As activists are jailed, maimed, and killed around the world, this is grotesque,” said Yuen Chan, a senior lecturer, and journalist.



One of the users compared the premise of the show with the Kendall Jenner advertisement in which she appeared to resolve an unspecified protest by handing a police officer a can of Pepsi. The user wrote, “I go on the activist reality show and do this and everyone including the judges are screaming and crying.” 

Another social media user slammed the Indian actress and noted, “This is truly disgusting. #PriyankaChopra ain't an activist or progressive and this theater of activism/real work is gross. Why has #American media decided that for everything #India and diverse, she is the face of it? She is good at her job but not everything is her job.”

“This is a HORRIBLE idea for a show. CBS should be ashamed they even had the audacity to green light this, and to do so with someone who is a warmonger and another who’s done, blackface. It’s also such a slap in the face to actual activists??” said another one. “Framing activism as a competitive sport is a massive insult to every single person trying to make the world a little better in their own ways. Actually gross,” wrote another one.









It will be interesting to see how the network and the hosts respond to this backlash. Apart from CBS, Global Citizen is also attached to the project. ‘The Activist’ will premiere exclusively on CBS on Friday, October 22, at 8 pm EST over the course of five weeks.

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