Benefit reality show sparks controversy in the US

The announcement of the broadcast of a television program with the premise of being a competition between activists and whose winner will be the one with the most impact on social networks, caused controversy this weekend in the United States.

The show, called “The Activist,” airs on CBS in October, will be co-produced by the NGO Global Citizen and will feature stars such as singer Usher, actress Priyanka Chopra and dancer Julianne Hough.

The public will follow in the footsteps of “six activists” in their attempt to “create powerful movements” and “bring real change to one of the three vitally important global causes: health, education and the environment”, specifies the network’s website.

Candidates “will face challenges” and their “success will be measured by the reception of their online posts, social media analysis and comments from presenters,” continued CBS.

The final will run parallel to the G20 summit in Rome at the end of October, where budding activists will have to seek funding and “raise awareness of their cause”.

“Combining philanthropy and entertainment, ‘The Activist’ is a revolutionary series that will inspire viewers,” CBS Vice President Jack Sussman said in a statement.

“Couldn’t they give their money directly to militant causes, instead of turning activism into a game and contributing to a ‘prize’? People are dying,” tweeted feminist actress and activist Jameela Jamil.

“It’s hard enough fighting for causes. And we must also dance and sing for many millionaires as they decide who is worthy of their crumbs,” said Nabilah Islam, an American activist and former Democratic candidate for Georgia’s parliament.

“This is not a reality show designed to trivialize activism,” defended Global Citizen on the Deadline website.

The objective is “to show the ingenuity and dedication” of the militants and “to make their causes even better known”, said the NGO that fights against poverty, for the preservation of the environment and for equity.