The former ‘DWTS’ pro recently took to Instagram to address the tidal wave of backlash she has received for signing on as a judge of CBS’ new show “The Activist.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “the show will see activists compete in missions, media stunts, digital campaigns and community events” in order to “bring meaningful change to one of three urgent universal causes: health, education and the environment.”
Activist or not?
Why are people so upset?
Well, back in 2013, Hough dressed in blackface for Halloween while dressing up as an “Orange Is the New Black” character.
Some reactions on Twitter include, “Considering how incredibly horrid the premise of this show is, it doesn’t seem fairly on brand to include a celeb that dressed in blackface to be a part of it,” while another wrote, “I’m kinda fascinated by the choice to have Julianne Hough host The Activist. Like did they forget her whole Halloween blackface incident, or did they hire her…. because of it? Anyway I have to go throw up now.”
Julianne got word of people’s disapproval of her hosting the show and addressed it on her Instagram account.
In a four slide note she started off saying, “The last few days have been a powerful demonstration of real-time activism. Thank you for using your voices, calling me in, your accountability. and your candor. I am deeply listening with an open heart and mind: After the press release announcing The Activist, I heard you say that the show was performative, promoted pseudo-activism over real activism, felt tone-deaf, like Black Mirror, The Hunger Games, and that the hosts weren’t qualified to assess activism because we are celebrities and not activists.”
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“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. And because of all this, there is a feeling of insult, dehumanization, insensitivity and had that is being rightfully felt,” her note continued. “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. On top of all this, many people are just becoming aware that I wore blackface in ma which only further added insult to injury.”
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She admitted that wearing blackface was a poor choice and it was based on her own white privilege.
It’s something she regrets doing to this day.
“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. Not perfectly. but hopefully with a more developed understanding that racism and white supremacy is harmful to ALL people,” she continued.
Julianne rounded out her note writing, “I do not have all the answers yet. I’ve shared your concerns as well as my own with the powers that be, who I believe have listened. I have faith and confidence in the beautiful people that I’ve worked with will make the right choice and do the right thing moving forward. Not just for the show, but for the greater good.”
She is still open to conversation and hopes her note is a way to keep it going.