'Survivor: Edge of Extinction' preview: Looking back at the most controversial moments from CBS show
Although we look to 'Survivor' for wholesome family entertainment, there were certain moments on the CBS show that were hotpots of scandals and controversies.
Most of us have turned to CBS’ 'Survivor' when looking for a wholesome family reality entertainment. Tenacity, determination and perseverance are some of the words that come to mind when trying to describe the contestants who risk everything and give up everything -- from family to base human necessities -- to try their hands at this game.
However, there are certain moments on the show that were hotpots of scandals and controversies.
As we count down the days to the premiere of 'Survivor: Edge of Extinction' on February 20, here are some of those moments that continue to haunt us, in no particular order.
Jon Dalton fakes grandmother's death
Jon Dalton aka Jonny Fairplay took ‘Survivor’ to a new low in ‘Pearl Islands,’ when he lied about his grandmother’s untimely death. In the tenth season of the CBS reality show, Dalton tasked his friend with lying about his grandmother’s death during a “visit from a loved one.” He saw the whole thing through, by pretending to be heartbroken, even winning a rarely handed out 24-hour visit home along with his friend.
However, when the truth came out, host and executive producer Jeff Probst called him “completely despicable” and banned him from all ‘Survivor’ events henceforth. Not to mention, he made an enemy out of all fellow contestants and the viewers.
Richard Hatch runs into Sue Hawk, dong first
One of the most disturbing moments on the reality show (that we are desperately trying to forget) involved ‘All Stars’ contestants of season 8, Richard Hatch and Sue Hawk, who had gotten along pretty well in their first season together. The second time, however, did not go as well.
During one of the challenges, which involved crisscrossing balance beams, Hatch – whose love for being naked is no news to ‘Survivor’ fans – ran dong-first into Hawk, which left her traumatized. Hatch was voted out almost immediately for unrelated reason, and an impassioned Hawk told Probst that she felt "violated, humiliated, dehumanized, and totally spent" because of the event, and quit the show.
Jeff Varner outs Zeke Smith as transgender
Zeke Smith was forced to come out as transgender on the show, when his tribe-mate on ‘Game Changers’ Jeff Varner revealed in front of all the other contestants his truth. "There is deception here. Deceptions on levels Jeff that these guys don't even understand," Varner said during the tribal council.
"Why haven't you told anyone that you're transgender?" The other contestants were outraged, as were viewers, with most calling it the ugliest move in the game's history.
However, Varner’s twisted “strategy” fell apart when the whole tribe unanimously supported Smith and voted the former out for not respecting the latter’s privacy.
Jenna Morasca and Heidi Strobel get naked for food goodies
This particular scandalous moment was orchestrated by the producers of ‘Survivor.’ During a challenge in ‘The Amazon,’ Probst tempted the contestants with promises of chocolate and peanut butter if they would strip down mid-challenge.
Morasca and Strobel were definitely up for the challenge and stripped down immediately. This event has definitely taken them high up in the hottest ‘Survivor’ contestant lists that any fan makes.
Colby Donaldson becomes an outlaw
Still revered by many of the earliest fans of ‘Survivor’ as the biggest hero of the reality show, Colby Donaldson happened to break a major Australian law while he was filming for ‘The Australian Outback.’ Donaldson, who won a trip to the Great Barrier Reef, broke off pieces of coral to take to his tribe.
As harmless as that gesture may have seemed at the time, according to the Australian law, the coral is an endangered species and the show’s producer Mark Burnett had to apologize after the episode aired. He said, "On behalf of myself, production and the survivors involved, we extend our sincerest apologies for this error. I remain steadfast in my commitment to environmental concerns and continue to put forth great effort in order to improve a situation whenever possible. Please know that this was an honest mistake which we deeply regret."
White people vs. African-Americans vs. Asian-Americans vs. Hispanic-Americans
This seriously was an actual idea that 'Survivor' had for season 13, and it was even actualized for two episodes. According to Probst, it arose from the fact that at the time the show was heavily criticized for its lack of diversity. He told Entertainment Weekly, that he always "get asked, 'Why aren’t there more black people on the show? Where are all the Asians?' So the idea [was] to take on something we are criticized for."
However, multiple sponsors pulled out, of the show, when the "race war" was announced, and thankfully the show went back to not dividing people based on race again.
If u think we’ve come a long way since Survivors 2006 race wars season think again because in 2016 they divided the tribes by class— Olivia (@Dopegirl__liv) August 22, 2018
JP Hilsabeck drops his pants
In ‘Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers,’ JP Hilsabeck had proved to be a physical threat right from the beginning. He also developed a bond with Ashley Nolan right off the bat, and the duo formed a four-way alliance with Alan Ball and Ben Driebergen within the Levu tribe.
However, Hilsabeck and Nolan’s loyalty to this alliance was questioned when Ball accused the duo of being romantically involved, and the former of hiding an immunity idol. They vehemently denied the accusations and Hilsabeck even went on to drop his pants to prove that he had “nothing to hide.”