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Julianne Hough says her use of blackface in 2013 was 'a poor choice based on my own white privilege'

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Julianne Hough has responded to backlash regarding the forthcoming CBS reality competition series The Activist, her involvement, and her prior use of blackface.

‘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,’ wrote the 33-year-old dancer in a lengthy Instagram statement shared Tuesday.

Back in 2013, Hough caused uproar when she darkened her skin to portray the Orange Is The New Black character ‘Crazy Eyes,’ who is played by actress Uzo Aduba.

Addressing the issues: Julianne Hough has responded to backlash regarding the forthcoming CBS reality competition series The Activist, her involvement, and her prior use of blackface; pictured in July

Addressing the issues: Julianne Hough has responded to backlash regarding the forthcoming CBS reality competition series The Activist, her involvement, and her prior use of blackface; pictured in July

Julianne continued: ‘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.’

Last week, it was announced that CBS would be launching a brand new reality program, titled The Activist, which would feature Julianne, actress Priyanka Chopra and singer Usher as judges. 

According to Deadline, The Activist is a competitive reality series in which six activists will be joined by three public figures to make significant changes to environmental issues, healthcare and education.

But rather than measuring a meaningful change, the winner of the competition will be determined based on ‘online engagement, social metrics, and hosts’ input.’

Statement: '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,' wrote the 33-year-old dancer in a lengthy Instagram statement shared Tuesday

Statement: ‘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,’ wrote the 33-year-old dancer in a lengthy Instagram statement shared Tuesday

The incident: Back in 2013, Hough caused uproar when she darkened her skin to portray the Orange Is The New Black character 'Crazy Eyes,' who is played by actress Uzo Aduba

The incident: Back in 2013, Hough caused uproar when she darkened her skin to portray the Orange Is The New Black character ‘Crazy Eyes,’ who is played by actress Uzo Aduba

Once news of the forthcoming series broke, social media erupted in outrage, with many calling The Activist ‘distasteful’ and ‘tone deaf.’ 

In Wednesday’s statement, Julianne labeled the criticism she received over The Activist and her involvement with it as ‘a powerful demonstration of real-time activism’ and that she has spent the past week ‘deeply listening with an open heart and mind. 

‘Thank you for using your voices, calling me in, your accountability. and your candor,’ she began. 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.

‘I heard you say that there was hypocrisy in the show because at the root of activism is a fight against capitalism and the trauma that it causes so many people and that the show itself felt like a shiny capitalistic endeavor,’ the Rock Of Ages star continued.

Activism: In Wednesday's statement, Julianne labeled the criticism she received over The Activist and her involvement with it as 'a powerful demonstration of real-time activism' and that she has spent the past week 'deeply listening with an open heart and mind.

Activism: In Wednesday’s statement, Julianne labeled the criticism she received over The Activist and her involvement with it as ‘a powerful demonstration of real-time activism’ and that she has spent the past week ‘deeply listening with an open heart and mind.

Citing the offenses: 'I heard you say that there was hypocrisy in the show because at the root of activism is a fight against capitalism and the trauma that it causes so many people and that the show itself felt like a shiny capitalistic endeavor,' the Rock Of Ages star continued

Citing the offenses: ‘I heard you say that there was hypocrisy in the show because at the root of activism is a fight against capitalism and the trauma that it causes so many people and that the show itself felt like a shiny capitalistic endeavor,’ the Rock Of Ages star continued

She acknowledged that many have found the series as a means to ‘value one cause over another,’ which, in turn, makes it come across as ‘the Oppression Olympics and totally miss[es] and disrespect[s] the many activists who have been killed, assaulted and have faced various abuses fighting for their causes.’

Julianne continued: ‘And because of all this, there is a feeling of insult, dehumanization, insensitivity and had that is being rightfully felt.

‘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. 

‘I’ve definitely not addressed all the different, valuable feedback about what the show missed and my missteps. I want you to know that I am still listening, because this is a messy and uncomfortable conversation and I’m committed to being here for all of it.’

Her reason: Hough felt it was 'important' to provide her fans and followers with the 'original reason I signed on to this show,' which was because she was 'really excited to be a part of something that highlights, and is centered around sharing activists' work on a larger platform'

Her reason: Hough felt it was ‘important’ to provide her fans and followers with the ‘original reason I signed on to this show,’ which was because she was ‘really excited to be a part of something that highlights, and is centered around sharing activists’ work on a larger platform’

Communicated: To close out her lengthy text post, Hough stressed that she does 'not have all the answers yet' but that she has since 'shared your concerns as well as[her] own' with the 'powers' behind The Activist

Communicated: To close out her lengthy text post, Hough stressed that she does ‘not have all the answers yet’ but that she has since ‘shared your concerns as well as[her] own’ with the ‘powers’ behind The Activist

Hough felt it was ‘important’ to provide her fans and followers with the ‘original reason I signed on to this show,’ which was because she was ‘really excited to be a part of something that highlights, and is centered around sharing activists’ work on a larger platform.

‘In doing so, I felt it would 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.’

To close out her lengthy text post, Hough stressed that she does ‘not have all the answers yet’ but that she has since ‘shared your concerns as well as[her] own’ with the ‘powers’ behind The Activist.

‘I believe [they] 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. I’m going to continue to listen, unlearn, learn and take the time to be fully present with everything that you have all shared because I don’t want to just react.

Ripped to shreds: Twitter was up in arms after the new CBS reality series The Activist was announced on Thursday. Priyanka Chopra, Julianne Hough and Usher will host the series; Chopra seen in 2019

Ripped to shreds: Twitter was up in arms after the new CBS reality series The Activist was announced on Thursday. Priyanka Chopra, Julianne Hough and Usher will host the series; Usher seen in May

Up in arms: Ripped to shreds: Twitter was up in arms after the new CBS reality series The Activist was announced on Thursday. Priyanka Chopra, Julianne Hough and Usher will host the series; Chopra seen in 2019, Usher seen in May

Hot topic: Aside from Julianne's blackface scandal, one Twitter user highlighted Priyanka's controversial support of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has embraced Hindu nationalism and right-wing populism

Hot topic: Aside from Julianne’s blackface scandal, one Twitter user highlighted Priyanka’s controversial support of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has embraced Hindu nationalism and right-wing populism 

‘I want to digest, understand and respond in a way that is authentic and aligned with the woman I am becoming. I also understand that there is no response that I could share that would make everyone happy.

‘However, I want you to know that this is a conversation and I’m still listening,’ she concluded.

Since sharing, Julianne’s post has received over 11,000 likes, with many taking to the comment section to provide words of encouragement to the star and to thank her for openly addressing the concerns of others.

A huge change from last week as Twitter blew up with backlash over The Activist, with many calling out controversial moments in the judges’ past.

Called out: In 2019, she was publicly called out at Beautycon for a tweet supporting India's military among rising tensions with neighboring Pakistan. 'The same priyanka chopra who told a pakistani activist to 'stop venting'? okay,' mused one user

Called out: In 2019, she was publicly called out at Beautycon for a tweet supporting India’s military among rising tensions with neighboring Pakistan. ‘The same priyanka chopra who told a pakistani activist to ‘stop venting’? okay,’ mused one user 

Killer combo: Another person combined complaints about the series with a dig at Chopra

Killer combo: Another person combined complaints about the series with a dig at Chopra 

Aside from Julianne’s blackface scandal, one Twitter user highlighted Priyanka’s controversial support of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has embraced Hindu nationalism and right-wing populism.

In 2019, she was publicly called out at Beautycon for a tweet supporting India’s military among rising tensions with neighboring Pakistan. ‘The same priyanka chopra who told a pakistani activist to ‘stop venting’? okay,’ mused one user.

Another person combined complaints about the series with a dig at Chopra.

‘like yea using activism as a competition where it is funneled into social media influence is absolutely abhorrent and completely dilutes the importance and impacts of organizing and grassroots effors [sic] but also remember when priyanka chopra asked an activist if she was done venting.’ 

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