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Inside the ‘Activist’ Meltdowns as the Entire Shitshow Spiraled Out of Control

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It took just a few hours for CBS’s new reality competition The Activist to be globally panned. A Frankenstein mashup of a Hunger Games-style dystopian world mixed with hints of Survivor and The Apprentice, the show places six activists into teams and pairs them with a “high-profile public figure” to duke it out in challenges to promote their various causes. At the end of the five-week series, they will have the chance to pitch their cause at the G20 Summit in Rome. Whoever secures the most funding wins the show.

Instead of world leaders or any sort of mission-driven experts being tapped to host the show, Usher, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Julianne Hough will serve as co-hosts and offer up advice to the contestants.

The Daily Beast reviewed the six contestants’ social media accounts—including TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram profiles—which were all created in August. One posted, “Help me win by commenting and liking my posts through the next few missions!” Another contestant thanked his followers for donating to his GoFundMe, which went towards covering the unpaid time off he took as an elementary teacher in order to compete on the show.

Needless to say, the announcement of a show that pits serious causes against one another and then relies on superficial social media metrics to determine which campaign is more successful—in the middle of global pandemic—did not go over well.

The calls to can the entire show began pouring in, as activists started sharing tales about how they were approached to compete, but quickly decided against it. Alicia O’Sullivan, an Ireland-based activist and speaker who works to raise youth awareness on climate change, told The Daily Beast that she was contacted about appearing on the show. By the end of her interview, she recalls, she got the sense that no one quite grasped the concept of activism.

“It's actually pretty offensive to the activism community in my opinion to shove everyone on a TV show and try and create a winner out of a situation where people are funding things like poverty, education, climate change—[causes] where people literally die every day, every minute, and every hour,” the Down to Earth podcast host says. “I think if they had any knowledge of the activism world, they would probably realize how grossly wrong this is.”

Clover Hogan, a 22-year-old London-based climate activist and founder of the youth-geared organization Force of Nature, recounted her nightmarish interview that resulted in her bursting into tears while on the call—a reaction that was met with enthusiasm. She admits to The Daily Beast that, while it’s unlikely, she hopes the show never makes it to........

© The Daily Beast

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