Julianne Hough Addresses ‘The Activist’ Show Backlash and Past Blackface Costume

Julianne Hough, surrounded by the recent backlash, has released a lengthy statement addressing the challenges and uses of online engagement in “The Activist” show competition, where teams of activists pit against each other, and judges determine the overall winner.

Priyanka Chopra and Usher, alongside former “Dancing with the Stars” judge and dancer, Hough, have been announced as co-hosts of “The Activist.” Hough admits that she is not qualified to judge a show about activism, which has widely been criticized online for its premise.

On Tuesday, Hough stated on her Instagram, “I lack the necessary expertise to serve as a judge and, in addition, the judging element of the show failed to meet expectations. I completely concur that I do not assert myself as an advocate.”

Hough admitted that she has taken into account the feedback that “The Activist” has received and mentioned that she raised the issue with the relevant authorities. The program, which is created by Global Citizen, CBS, and Deviant Media, is scheduled to debut on CBS and Paramount Plus on October 22nd.

She wrote, “For the greater good, it is not just about showing off. I have confidence and faith in the beautiful people I have worked with, who will make the right choices and do the right thing moving forward. I believe in those who have listened and I have shared my concerns with them, as well as having my own powers.”

Uzo Aduba, who portrayed Warren on “Orange Is the New Black,” recently responded online once again and apologized for her costume choice in 2013. She addressed the controversy surrounding her Halloween costume, in which she wore blackface and dressed up as “Crazy Eyes” from the show.

“In my writing, Hough expressed: ‘I have committed myself to understanding white supremacy and racism, with the hope of acting and reflecting differently. However, I deeply regret that my actions, based on my own white privilege and poor choices, have hurt and perpetuated bias against people. I now realize that wearing blackface is something I deeply regret, especially when I compare my experiences to those who have lived through many struggles.'”

Please find Hough’s complete statement below.

The recent days have been a compelling display of live activism.

I am deeply listening with an open mind and heart. I appreciate your honesty and responsibility by reaching out to me and using your voices. Thank you.

We are not celebrities but rather activists, because the hosts of the show “The Activist” were not qualified to assess activism. The show felt tone-deaf, like a black mirror reflecting the hunger games. It promoted pseudo-activism over real activism and was performative. This is what I heard after the press release announcing the show.

I heard you say that activism is rooted in the fight against capitalism because it shows the hypocrisy that many people find traumatic and shiny, like a capitalistic endeavor itself.

I have also heard you say that many activists who have been assaulted and killed have faced various abuses, disrespected, and totally missed the Olympics, just like another cause trying to say that oppression causes fighting.

And because of all these factors, there is a feeling of offense, dehumanization, absence of understanding, and suffering that is rightfully felt.

I do not consider myself qualified to act as a judge, and furthermore, I fully agree with the aspect of judging the missed show. I also do not claim to be an activist.

Many people are aware that I wore blackface in 2013, which only added further insult to injury. This is something that is at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Hopefully, I have developed a better understanding of the harmful nature of white supremacy and racism. I have made a commitment to act and reflect differently. However, I regret that I have made the poor choice of wearing blackface, which is something that hurts people and is based on my own white privilege and bias.

I failed to attend the show and acknowledge my mistakes. I certainly haven’t addressed all the various, important feedback regarding what happened. Despite everything, I am determined to be present because this is a chaotic and awkward discussion, and I want you to understand that I am still attentive.

It feels important to me to share the original reason why I signed on to this show because I was really excited to be a part of something that is centered around activists’ work, which highlights and shares a larger platform for educating, mobilizing, inspiring, and helping people around the world get involved in causes that need attention, funding, and most importantly, have a real and impactful effect.

In order to benefit the larger cause, and not solely for appearances, the attractive individuals I have collaborated with will make the appropriate decision and take the correct course of action in the future. I trust and have confidence in the authorities, whom I think have paid attention. I have expressed both your worries and my own. I haven’t figured out all the solutions yet.

I’m continuing to learn, unlearn, and listen because I don’t want to respond and understand in a way that is not aligned and authentic with becoming a woman. I want to take the time to fully present myself with everything that you all have shared and digest it.