On a recent episode of the “Talkin’ with T-Bird” podcast, Ghandia Johnson talked at length about a pivotal incident that happened during Survivor: Thailand between herself and Ted Rogers Jr. She said that incident itself and the show’s treatment of the incident was “one of the worst things that has ever happened to me in my whole entire life.”
Here’s what happened on the show and what Johnson had to say about it.
Johnson Said That Rogers Made Unwanted Sexual Touching One Night
During season five of the show, Johnson said that Rogers kept trying to engage her in sexual relations one night. She said he was grinding on her and she felt like he was trying to hook up with her.
When she confronted him about it, he apologized and said that he woke up disoriented and mistook her for his wife, which Johnson thought was disingenuous.
Later, a game of telephone ensued when Brian Heidik told Helen Glover that Rogers denied anything, which got back to Johnson via Glover and Johnson then had to collect herself because she was so angry that he denied it. She went off and yelled and threw rocks into the ocean, which Clay Jordan called “childish” and compared her to a toddler.
They later called a tribe meeting to discuss everything and Rogers said, “The other night I was waking up … and for some crazy reason, in that position, I started grinding on Ghandia, maybe two or three times before I realized this isn’t my wife. We talked about it and I said to Ghandia, I totally apologized and I explained to her exactly what happened.”
Johnson said that she felt like Rogers was trying to initiate sex and he yelled, “First of all, I don’t need to get with you. Second of all, I’m not even attracted to you. It’s not even about that.”
He also said in a talking-head interview, “Ghandia was making an issue that was very, very small, that could have been handled in a very professional, one-on-one manner and has exploded it into an issue that goes beyond me and beyond this game.”
The tribe ended up mostly siding with Rogers and Johnson was voted out not long after that.
Johnson Said The Whole Experience Was Horrible
On Theresa Cooper’s podcast, Johnson said “it was horrible” all the way around, from the way it went down to being voted out, to having to watch it on TV, to the way it was portrayed at the live reunion on finale night.
Cooper’s co-host, Rob Cesternino, said that he was surprised by the way the tribe “worked to cover it up,” like it never happened, and then when the shows aired, he thought the show treated it like it was a joke.
“I feel like they treated your situation almost like and Jeff [Probst] even says on the reunion show, ‘Hey, that’s what happens on Survivor.’ It was sort of like, ‘Oh, this is just the wacky stuff that happens on reality TV shows,'” said Cesternino.
Johnson said the finale was excruciating because she was sitting there trying to smile and be a good sport, but it was killing her that they treated it like such a zany thing instead of like something serious.
“I know what happened and for it to be minimalized to such a small degree as that and not knowing that that was going to be said at the reunion … there’s like no sensitivity to the s*** because it was already labeled, they already had it how they were gonna play it,” said Johnson.
Cesternino did point out that the show has put some guidelines in place after the Dan Spilo incident during season 39, but fans were still very upset that the show didn’t seem to take contestant Kellee Kim seriously and it wasn’t until Spilo inappropriately touched a producer that he was removed from the game.
Survivor will most likely not return until fall 2021 with season 41, which should begin filming in April.