CBS has announced that it will be making major changes to its upcoming series, The Activist, after receiving major backlash on social media. On Wednesday evening, CBS, Live Nation and Global Citizen released a statement that aimed to explain why they made their decision.
“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 statement reads.
"As a result, we are changing the format to remove the competitive element and reimagining the concept into a primetime documentary special (air date to be announced). It will showcase the tireless work of six activists and the impact they have advocating for causes they deeply believe in. Each activist will be awarded a cash grant for the organization of their choice, as was planned for the original show.”
Formally announced on September 9, The Activist was originally planned to be a reality competition series that pit six activists against each other as they pursue economic change, aim to eradicate racial inequality, discuss climate change and much more. Immediately after the show was announced, many potential viewers called out the network for commercializing activism in such a manner.
"This is very bad. You have to be inhumane to try to commercialize people's struggles," Choose Yourself Executive Director Judicaelle Irakoze tweeted.
"We really are on the worst timeline," Washington Post Columnist Karen Nicole Attiah added.
Alongside CBS, the three celebrity hosts, Usher, Julianne Hough and Priyanka Chopra-Jonas, also dealt with backlash. As a result, Hough issued a statement of her own on Wednesday.
“I do not claim to be an activist and wholeheartedly agree that the judging aspect of the show missed the mark and furthermore, that I am not qualified to act as a judge," she wrote on Instagram.
Needless to say, The Activist will not debut on October 22. A new premiere date will be announced in the coming weeks.