A new celebrity-hosted competition show slated to put activists and their causes at the forefront is getting pummeled on social media. Entitled “The Activist,” the five-week reality series is set to premiere at 8 p.m. on Oct. 22 on CBS, Deadline reported.
Produced by Global Citizen – an international education and advocacy organization – “The Activist” will be co-hosted by Usher, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Julianne Hough. They will work with “six inspiring activists … to bring meaningful change” through causes in health, education and the environment.
According to Deadline, on the series “activists go head-to-head in challenges to promote their causes, with their success measured via online engagement, social metrics, and hosts’ input.” The activist teams will compete for a chance to attend the G20 Summit in Rome, Italy, where they will meet with world leaders and try to secure funding.
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“’The Activist’ is a first-of-its-kind competition series that will inspire real change, as the series progresses from the United States to Rome for the activists’ final challenge at the G20,” said Hugh Evans, Global Citizen CEO and co-founder. “The audience will see the activists’ passion and commitment for their causes tested as they petition world leaders to take urgent action to resolve the interconnected crises we face.”
Social media users didn’t share Evans’ optimism or enthusiasm. Many balked at the notion of playing games with real activism.
“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 organisations do on the ground, on a daily basis. Gross,” London-based writer Stephanie Yeboah tweeted.
“Oh no. This is a show about influencers, not activists,” attorney Derecka Purnell tweeted, dubbing the show “America’s Next Top Neoliberal.” Twitter user @bidetboli added “they gonna be like “in my hands i have one photo, AIDS or Women’s Equality.”
“I’m confused: Is this an advanced Marxist critique to expose how competition for money and attention pits activists against each other + undermines deep change? Or just the end of the world?” Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein tweeted.
“Just when I thought my winter honors seminar on philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, and development funding couldn’t get more content, The Activist has proven me otherwise,” Twitter user @MythriJego wrote. “If I blink, will it go away?”
User @DosesWithMal added, “@Usher @priyankachopra Are y’all serious??? Competing for activism????? Yeah this world needs to disintegrate at this point cause wtf is this!?”
“So hunger games meets shark tank. Great. More performative activism,” @thomasav wrote.