Priyanka Chopra has apologised for her participation in the CBS show The Activist in the wake of controversy and social media backlash. She said she has been “moved” by the criticism. She acknowledged that the show “got it wrong” and is “sorry that my participation in it disappointed many of you”.Earlier CBS had announced a change in The Activist’s format. It will be changed from a competition show to a one-time documentary.
In a statement posted on social media, Priyanka said the show’s aim was to bring a spotlight on activists who tirelessly work for a cause they are passionate about but admitted that the format was “wrong”.
“I have been moved by the power of your voices over the past week. At its core, activism is fuelled by cause and effect, and when people come together to raise their voice about something, there is always an effect. You were heard.
“The show got it wrong, and I’m sorry that my participation in it disappointed many of you. 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,” the statement read.
“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,” Priyanka said.
The Activist was announced as involving six “inspiring activists” who will team up with three public figures, namely Usher, Priyanka, and Julianne Hough. The announcement was met with shock, ridicule, and in a few cases, outright disbelief. Many accused the makers of “performance activism” and trivialising the very concept of activism by turning it into cheap entertainment.
Priyanka went on to laud the “global community of activists who fight the fight every single day and put their blood, sweat and tears into creating change, but more often than not, they are rarely heard or acknowledged.”
“Their work is so important and they too deserve to be recognized and celebrated. Thank you to each and every one of you for all that you do,” she concluded.
Earlier, Julianne Houghton had also addressed the criticism in a note. “The last few days have been a powerful demonstration of real-time activism. Thank you for using your voices, calling me in, your accountability, and your candor. I am deeply listening with an open heart and mind,” she had written.
Earlier, a joint statement from CBS and co-producer, non-profit Global Citizen read, “The Activist was designed to show a wide audience the passion, long hours, and ingenuity that activists put into changing the world, hopefully inspiring others to do the same. However, it has become apparent the format of the show as announced distracts from the vital work these incredible activists do in their communities every day. The push for global change is not a competition and requires a global effort.”
The organisation had apologised to not only real activists, but also the hosts, who’d been dragged through the mud for associating themselves with the show.