Julianne Hough is looking back at the infamous “The Activist” controversy she was involved in and opening up about what it meant for her.
A month after the CBS show faced heavy backlash from the internet, Hough revealed that the entire scandal taught her some invaluable lessons.
During a recent appearance at Environmental Media Association Awards, the professional dancer shared some life lessons with People Magazine.
The “Dancing with the Stars” alum shared that the pushback from fans didn’t discourage her. Instead, it gave her “more of a fire to focus on the things that need attention.” Going into details, Hough said:
I think the greatest thing that I learned is to listen to what’s happening, to gather information, and to really try to learn.
What Happened With ‘The Activist’?
Back in September, news broke that CBS was working on an upcoming reality competition series titled “The Activist,” which would see six activists from around the world work to bring meaningful change to significant causes like health, education, and environment.
The competitors would “compete in missions, media stunts, digital campaigns and community events.” The winner would be selected by how much social media engagement is received.
Hough was set to serve as a judge on the reality series alongside singer Usher and Priyanka Chopra as the trio would evaluate the activists and choose who would attend the G20 summit in Rome to discuss their cause with world leaders.
Unfortunately, the show’s premise wasn’t well-appreciated by netizens who bashed the network for engaging in “performance activist” and subjecting serious causes to a metric as flimsy as social media engagement.
However, much more than the fault found with the show’s premise, fans notably held a grievance against Hough for a 2013 blackface Halloween scandal.
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Many users expressed that Hough was not fit to serve as a judge because of the blackface scandal. Upon receiving the backlash, the “Safe Haven” star took to social media to respond.
As The Blast previously reported, Hough shared that she wholeheartedly received the criticism targeted at her with her heart and mind. However, she cleared the air about being labeled an activist and reiterated that she wasn’t one.
Then addressing the blackface, Hough described the scandal as a “poor choice based on my own white privilege” and apologized for the hurt it caused. She promised to keep an open ear to all the conversations surrounding the show.
Following the uproar, CBS announced that “The Activist” wouldn’t follow the reality competition format but be revamped into a documentary. However, nothing has been said if Hough would still be a part of the project.