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September 18, 2021

Julianne Hough Confronts past Blackface Controversy amid Her Removal from ‘The Activist’ Panel

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Julianne Hough is taking accountability for her past mistakes after facing backlash for her appointment in CBS’s upcoming show, “The Activist.” She has also stepped down from the gig.

Global Citizen, CBS, and Live Nation recently announced a new reality TV series about activism. According to CBS’s press release, the show will be a competition among six activist contestants. 

Usher, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Julianne Hough were announced as co-hosts for the upcoming production. However, backlash regarding Hough’s past has forced her to step down and take accountability. 

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When CBS announced the details of its new show, fan responses clearly indicated that the concept would not work. The network described the project as a competition between activists that seeks to:

“Bring meaningful change to one of three urgent universal causes: health, education and the environment.”

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The show’s synopsis coupled with the questionable co-host panel lineup resulted in widespread criticism online. Many Twitter users even mocked the show for its performative activism to highlight the irony of it all. 

One subject that fans were zeroed in on after the show’s announcement is the eligibility of the panel of hosts. Fans especially targeted “Dancing With The Stars'” Hough for taking on the job knowing her past. 

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In 2013, Hough found herself in the middle of a controversy after wearing blackface to execute a Halloween costume. At the time, her brother Derek told the media that she was mortified and apologetic towards the ordeal. 

However, Hough is finally addressing the incident head-on after embracing the critique around “The Activist.” She uses an Instagram post to acknowledge her wrongdoing and admits that signing on to “The Activist” was a mistake:

“I do not claim to be an activist and wholeheartedly agree that the judging aspect of the show missed the mark….”

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Hough also writes that she is committed to reflecting on her past actions in her response. Additionally, she explains that she will take the time to act differently as she learns and listens more. 

Thankfully, Hough is not alone in acknowledging that “The Activist” may not be the best concept. The show’s creators have since released statements addressing the backlash and have committed to making changes to the concept:

“The push for global change is not a competition and requires a global effort.” 

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CBS, Live Nation, and Global Citizen have agreed to reimagine the show as a documentary special instead. Although the show was due to air on October 22, no air date was mentioned for the documentary.

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