“Dancing With The Stars” alum Julianne Hough released a lengthy Instagram statement in response to the criticism surrounding her new reality show, “The Activist.”
The CBS competition series has sparked controversy for attempting to quantify the impact of activism through the approval of a celebrity judging panel that includes Hough, R&B singer Usher, and “Quantico” star Priyanka Chopra Jonas.
“The last few days have been a powerful demonstration of real-time activism,” Hough wrote in a five-page statement. Tuesday. “Thank you for using your voices, calling me in, your accountability, and your candor. I am deeply listening with an open heart and mind.”
Hough said that she “heard” critics who called the show “performative,” “tone-deaf,” and was colorfully described as “Black Mirror” meets “The Hunger Games.”
“I heard you say there was hypocrisy in the show because at the root of activism is a fight against capitalism and the trauma that it causes so many people and that the show itself felt like a shiny capitalistic endeavor,” she continued.
“I also heard you say that trying to value one cause over another felt like the Oppression Olympics and totally missed and disrespected the many activists who have been killed, assaulted and faced various abuses fighting for their causes.”
She noted that because of this, the “dehumanization” and “insensitivity” is rightfully being felt by viewers and went on to explain that because she’s not an activist, she isn’t qualified act as a judge.
Hough brought up her own 2013 blackface controversy, where she showed up to a Hollywood party dressed as a black character from Netflix’s “Orange Is The New Black,” which she described as adding “insult to injury.”
“Wearing blackface was a poor choice based on my own white privilege and my own white body bias that hurt people and is something I regret doing to this day,” she wrote.
“However, the regret that I live with pales in comparison to the lived experiences of so many. My commitment has been to reflect and act differently,” Hough continued. “Not perfectly, but hopefully with a more developed understanding that racism and white supremacy is harmful to ALL people.”
She said that she signed up for the show to help “inspire people around the world to get involved in activism,” but has faith that the network has listened to the public’s criticism.
“I also understand that there is no response that I could share that would make everyone happy, however, I want you to know that this is a conversation and I am still listening,” she concluded.