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Priyanka Chopra, Julianne Hough, Usher, And More Are Receiving Backlash For Their New Show, “The Activist”

"I'm so sorry, Shailene, your tweet about saving the oceans didn't get enough engagement."

On Friday, Deadline announced that Usher, Priyanka Chopra, and Julianne Hough will co-host the new CBS, Global Citizen–produced show called The Activist.

Evan Agostini / AP, Birdie Thompson / Birdie Thompson/MediaPunch/IPx / AP

According to Deadline, the premise of the five-week reality show is: "Activists go head-to-head in challenges to promote their causes, with their success measured via online engagement, social metrics, and hosts’ input."

Usher, Priyanka Chopra & Julianne Hough Set For ‘The Activist’, CBS Competition Series From Global Citizen https://t.co/4ucT9HXYU2

Twitter: @DEADLINE

Deadline spoke to the CEO of Global Citizen, Hugh Evans, who said, "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. 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.”

Hugh Evans speaking on stage
Charles Sykes / Getty

Well, this premise did not sit well with people. Many called out the program for a number of things — like being performative, out of touch, and cringe.

The reason dystopian stories can be uncanny is that we know that they can be real. They just often precede reality. Such obscene shows make total sense in a disconnected, elite world where activists are nothing more than enterpreneurs-to-be. It's dehumanising. https://t.co/HYKdVw82uS

Twitter: @joeyayoub

As activists are jailed, maimed and killed around the world, this is grotesque. https://t.co/7Sdu9IdLzy

Twitter: @xinwenxiaojie

A revolution isn't a dinner party, or writing an essay, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another —Mao https://t.co/Iqy16s9xuN

Twitter: @TheKejOfGlory

Couldn’t they just give the money it’s going to take to pay this UNBELIEVABLY expensive talent and make this show, directly to activist causes? Rather than turning activism into a game and then giving a fraction of the much needed money away in a “prize…?” People are dying. https://t.co/GLCUZcGgfb

Twitter: @jameelajamil

this is quite literally the epitome of performative activism https://t.co/VdGC31Hqnh

Twitter: @uhhmmily

One person called out how bizarre it is for contestants to "satisfy an arbitrary set of metrics to please a disconnected set of wealthy people" — aka these mega-rich celebs.

Yeah it would be terrible to make activists satisfy an arbitrary set of metrics to please a disconnected set of wealthy people who control the funding https://t.co/1sXi1X62Yo

Twitter: @KateAronoff

People even came up with hypothetical scenarios of how the show will play out:

"I'm so sorry, Shailene – your tweet about saving the oceans didn't get enough engagement. Priyanka must now electrocute the endangered minke whale" https://t.co/rDKPMeSImf

Twitter: @misszing

We believe in your climate advocacy and we are very proud of you, but sadly, you are going home tonight. https://t.co/mThzHM5c7n

Twitter: @sinangag_engels

Pleased to announce I’ll be on the debut season of “The Activist,” working against my fellow activists to be the best activist, with Usher as my mentor. A better world is possible, we just have to be willing to duel with other activists to the death, for entertainment!

Twitter: @micahherskind

Following the backlash, Global Citizen provided Deadline with a statement. It reads:

"The Activist spotlights individuals who’ve made it their life’s work to change the world for the better, as well as the incredible and often challenging work they do on the ground in their communities."

We will keep you updated if any of the celebs involved speak out as well.

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