Julianne Hough is addressing the backlash to her new show, The Activist, and her 2013 blackface scandal. The Dancing With the Stars alum, 33, took to Instagram with a statement Tuesday after being announced alongside Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Usher as co-hosts of the new CBS series, premiering Oct. 22.
The show, which features six activists competing to make an impact in health, education or the environment, has been criticized for the premise, as well as the metrics of success, which include online engagement, social media and the hosts' input. Hough said in a statement Tuesday that she was "deeply listening" to the criticism being leveled against the show.
"I heard you say that the show was performative, promoted pseudo-activism over real activism, felt done-deaf, like Black Mirror, The Hunger Games, and that the hosts weren't qualified to assess activism because we are celebrities and not activists," she wrote in part. "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."
Hough acknowledged that the fact she wore blackface in 2013 while dressing as Uzo Aduba's Orange Is the New Black character for Halloween "added insult to injury" for many people. The Footloose actress wrote that "wearing blackface was a poor choice based on my own white privilege and white body bias that hurt people and is something that I regret doing to this day."
Since then, Hough has been committed "to reflect and act differently," noting that she hasn't been doing that perfectly "but hopefully with a more developed understanding that racism and white supremacy is harmful to ALL people." She continued that she signed on for The Activist to "help educate, mobilize and inspire people around the world to get involved in activism because many worthy causes need attention, funding and most importantly, the power to effect real change."
Hough also revealed she shared many of these concerns with "the powers that be," who she believed 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," she wrote. "Not just for the show, but for the greater good." Disclosure: PopCulture is owned by ViacomCBS Streaming, a division of ViacomCBS.