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Julianne Hough Acknowledges 2013 Blackface Controversy While Responding to Criticism of 'The Activist'

Julianne Hough Acknowledges 2013 Blackface Controversy While Responding to Criticism of 'The Activist'

Julianne Hough is addressing fans' concerns about her new show, The Activist. The 33-year-old performer took to Instagram on Tuesday to respond to backlash over the show, and her position as co-host following her 2013 blackface controversy. 

Hough and Priyanka Chopra Jonas were announced as co-hosts of the CBS series last week, alongside host Usher. The Activist, set to premiere Oct. 22, features six activists competing to make a difference in either health, education or the environment. According to CBS, their success will be measured via online engagement, social metrics and hosts' input.

In her statement on Tuesday, Hough said she was "deeply listening" to criticism. 

"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 began, before noting the other concerns voiced by fans. 

"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," she shared. "On top of this, many people are just becoming aware that I wore blackface in 2013, which only further added insult to injury." 

Hough said 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."

The actress, who wore blackface while dressing as Uzo Aduba's Orange Is the New Black character for Halloween in 2013, said she has been committed "to reflect and act differently." "Not perfectly, but hopefully with a more developed understanding that racism and white supremacy is harmful to ALL people," she shared. 

Hough went on to share her reasons for signing onto The Activist to begin with, expressing her hope 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." 

She also said she "shared your concerns as well as my own with the powers that be, who I believe 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," Hough wrote. "Not just for the show, but for the greater good." 

ET has reached out to CBS, Chopra Jonas and Usher for comment.  

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