Producers rethink activist show ‘Hunger Games’ after online backlash


CBS has faced backlash for its new show “The Activist”, with social media users accusing the US television company of trivializing activism. The online outcry has made enough noise that the production company has now accepted the need to change the format.

After announcing its start / premiere date, the program immediately caught flack for its potentially insensitive premise. Usher, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Julianne Hough are set to co-host the reality show that pits six activists against each other in tasks to advance their chosen “cause”.

Divided into three teams of two, they will compete for the opportunity to attend the G20 summit in Rome. There, competitors will reportedly have the chance to meet world leaders in an effort to gain exposure and create funding opportunities for their cause.

Production companies Global Citizen and Live Nation are behind the proposed format which has angered activists around the world.

“This show trivializes an incredibly complex, traumatic and often dangerous life choice that has led to dead all over the world, “said Gina Martin, a British activist and writer.

“Right now the organizers in Afghanistan are scared for their lives just because they are women activists, and yet this show makes activism a hobby that you do to be recognized.

“Pitting people against each other to earn money to help people is a step away from making oppressed people fight for help. This is a glaring deviation from reality and the judges have no experience of popular activism either, ”she continues.

What do activists think of the show?

Many activists and activists have taken to Twitter to express their outrage.

The communications director of The Frontline, a community activism group, tweeted: “TFW, you thought there was a bottom, then the ground falls under you.”

Others questioned the political alignment of the hosts. Twitter user AROOJ said, “It’s sickening,” before asking, “Are we in the hunger games? The people on this panel are questionable. Lol Priyanka Chopra supporting activism? What?”

“The same woman who supports the genocidal fascist dictator Modi ???”

” It’s horrible. Cancel the show before it even airs.

“I have nothing to say about the militant campaign because I have said it before, many times, and this is the logical end point as long as capitalism subsumes ‘activism’,” wrote the political editor. from gal-dem, Moya Lothian- Mclean.

“The revolution will be televised, with Julianne Hough as the judge,” she added.

A potential competitor enters the fray

In a revelation thread On Twitter, 21-year-old activist Clover Hogan detailed her experience of being approached to appear on the show.

Hogan is an eco-anxiety researcher and founder of the Climate Action Group Force of nature.

In the thread, she recounts a call that producers have had with her in their search for “passionate activists who are actively engaged in making an impact in the fields of the environment, health, education and conservation. reduction of hunger in the world ”.

On the initial call, his questions about the process of creating the show were elusively answered.

When Hogan had a second interview with the producers, she said the commodification of social causes and activism became very clear.

“Asked about my background, I mentioned growing up in nature, having been heartbroken when I discovered documentaries, having chosen to become an environmentalist at 11, moving to Indonesia, working with grassroots communities”, writes Hogan.

“After that, this guy looked irritated. He said I looked like a robot, speaking from a script. He asked me to start over, this time with more emotion, and gave me some hints on ‘what the producers want to see’. We have repeated this several times; until I burst into tears.

The producer said his response was “perfect”.

“I had done what he wanted, apparently, explains the young activist.

“I felt humiliated. The only explanation I have for not hanging up then is the gas lighting. I kept thinking, Maybe I’m just dramatic. It’s showbiz, isn’t it? He’s just trying to help me communicate better. I chose to be here.

How did the creators of The Activist react?

In response to the backlash, a spokesperson for Global Citizen said, “The Activist highlights people who have done their life’s work to change the world for the better, as well as the incredible and often inspiring work they do on the ground in their communities. “

They add that this is not a reality show to trivialize activism.

“On the contrary, our goal is to support activists everywhere, to show the ingenuity and dedication they put into their work and to amplify their causes to an even wider audience.

In a new declaration, Global Citizen added, “Global activism focuses on collaboration and cooperation, not competition. We apologize to the activists, hosts and the activist community at large – we were wrong. “

“The show was wrong, and I’m sorry my participation on it disappointed many of you,” host Priyanka Chopra job to Twitter.

“The intention has always been to draw attention to the people behind the ideas and to highlight the actions and impact of the causes they tirelessly support,” she wrote.

The show is now revamped to document the work of activists, instead of pitting them against each other.

“It has become evident that the format of the broadcast being advertised distracts attention from the vital work these incredible activists do every day in their communities,” said Global Citizen.

“As a result, we’re changing the format to remove the competitive element and reimagining the concept into a special prime-time documentary (air date to come). It will present the tireless work of six activists and the impact they have in defending causes in which they deeply believe. Each activist will receive a cash grant to the organization of their choice, as planned for the original show.

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