Former ‘Survivor’ Calls to De-Platform ‘Dangerous’ Beliefs of Newer Players

Eliza Orlins and Survivor Cambodia Second Chance Cast

TikTok/CBS Eliza Orlins, at left. "Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance" cast in a 2015 photo, right.

“Survivor” has been known for a number of controversies in the midst and aftermath of multiple seasons, in no small part due to the behavior and statements of some contestants.

Recently, two-time player Eliza Orlins spoke out against the beliefs held by some of the show’s newer contestants – beliefs which she calls “dangerous” and said should be rejected by the show’s fanbase.

Here’s what you need to know:

Eliza Calls Out Former Players: ‘We Can’t Give Them a Platform’

Joe Anglim and Sierra Dawn Thomas

InstagramJoe Anglim and Sierra Dawn Thomas.

In late February, Eliza posted a video on TikTok in which she stressed that it was “really important” to call out people’s “dangerous beliefs,” even if they previously appeared on “Survivor.” She then called out three-time contestant and former fan favorite Joe Anglim by name, saying:

Joe Anglim is one of those people. You can like him on the show, think he was a golden boy … but it’s really important to be like, ‘No, this is a person who perpetuates QAnon conspiracy theories! This is a person who used the N-word, even if it wasn’t shown on screen.’ Like, I’m sorry, we have to call that out, we can’t give them a platform, we can’t follow them. And frankly, we can’t like them anymore.

Eliza was responding to a fan’s comment which read, “I’ve had to drop so many former Survivors. Joe hurt the worst when I found out… his very very questionable and dangerous beliefs.”

Eliza’s video had amassed upward of 40 thousand views within less than two weeks.

It is indeed true that Anglim and his wife – another two-time “Survivor” contestant, Sierra Dawn Thomas, who competed alongside Anglim in their original season, “Worlds Apart” in 2014 – have promoted the false and dangerous far-right online conspiracy theory known as QAnon in the years since its emergence in 2017, most prominently on Anglim’s since-deleted Instagram account. Anglim and Thomas got married in 2019 and have since had two children. Amid the 2020 election, they also promoted a number of false and misleading conspiracy theories online about the 2020 election being stolen, while continuing to promote QAnon.

In 2019, season 38, “Edge of Extinction” contestant Julia Carter made allegations of a contestant using a racial slur while quoting a movie on her season. Though she did not name the contestant by name, Dan “Wardog” DaSilva – another contestant on the season – later confirmed that the unnamed contestant was indeed Anglim, who started on the same tribe as Carter that season.

Other New-School Survivors Have Caused Controversy

Spencer Bledsoe Brad Culpepper and Joe Anglim Survivor Worlds Apart reunion

YouTubeReiman (“Spencer”) Bledsoe, alongside Joe Anglim (R) and Brad Culpepper (center), shortly before the former two are revealed to have been chosen by fans to compete in “Survivor: Cambodia” in 2015.

Anglim and Thomas are not the only former “Survivor” contestants who have found themselves embroiled in hot water recently. Two-time player Spencer Reiman Bledsoe has also come under fire by fans in recent months for writing a blog post harshly criticizing COVID vaccine mandates and new terminology used to benefit transgender people, and announced he was moving to Ecuador in order to avoid taking the vaccine himself. It is quite possible that Eliza was including Bledsoe in her call to de-platform former players.

Eliza also recently posted a video castigating three-time “Survivor” Jeff Varner, who has posted quite a bit of controversial material about the trans community on his Twitter account, which he privatized a few days ago. In his bio, he says he is “Accepting of all Tolerant of most,” and that he is a “Proud Gay, Queer is a Slur.”

In 2021, Eliza, who is a public attorney in Manhattan, ran for Manhattan District Attorney in the Democratic primary, though she did not win. She ran on a progressive platform advocating for greater representation of marginalized and lower-income communities, criminal justice reform, and trans rights. Though she lost her race, Eliza continues to fight for underrepresented communities online and in real life, as a public defender.

“Survivor” airs Wednesdays 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. The two-hour season 42 premiere will air on March 9.

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