Despite his self-described “nerdy” persona, John Cochran is one of the most dominant winners to ever play Survivor. In the season he won, he never had a single vote cast against him and he won the money by a unanimous jury vote. That’s incredible — only one other winner, James “J.T.” Thomas, has achieved the same feat.
But despite that, Cochran said in a recent interview that he still gets hate mail from fans. Read on to find out what messages they send to him and if Cochran would ever play again after being conspicuously absent from season 40, “Winners at War.”
Cochran Gets Called Ugly and Spineless In Fan Messages
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cochran revealed that nearly a decade after he won season 26, “Caramoan,” which aired in spring 2013, he still receives hateful messages from viewers of the show and he thought it was really important that season 40 addressed the psychological affects the show has on its players after filming.
“I certainly didn’t anticipate that, almost ten years after first playing, I’d still receive many messages every week explaining what an ugly, spineless coward I am. The insults eventually lose their impact just through repetition, but remain an unpleasant, persistent toothache in your inbox,” said Cochran. “And I know I can’t be anywhere close to getting the worst of this stuff compared to other contestants.”
He added that he thought it was “really great that season 40 openly addressed the difficulty experienced by players post-show and the psychological toll it takes.”
“I’m hopeful that Survivor (and reality television more broadly) will work to help future participants navigate the post-show experience, especially online. Maybe a Survivor ‘scared straight’ program where I come in and let applicants scroll through my DMs?” Cochran suggested.
Why He Won’t Play ‘Survivor’ Again
Cochran also said that he still has great affection for the show, but he will not be playing again for the same reason viewers did not get to see him on “Winners at War” — it’s too hard now because of his job.
“I was a law student on summer vacation the last two times I played; doing it now would be significantly more disruptive to my job and nervous system,” said Cochran, who currently works as a television writer.
In the interview, Cochran revealed that after Jeff Probst encouraged Cochran to get into writing during the “Caramoan” finale, well-known TV creator Greg Garcia reached out to him through CBS and offered him a job. Now Cochran has written for The Millers, Kevin Can Wait, and Star Trek: Lower Decks. In fact, he works on Star Trek: Lower Decks with fellow Survivor alum David Wright.
Jeff Probst Once Told Cochran To ‘Shut Up’
Cochran also revealed that something that didn’t make it to air during “Caramoan” was when he was asking Probst for a favor during a challenge and Probst told him to “shut up” — which we would imagine was said good-naturedly.
As Cochran explained, the castaways get to keep treemail and generally, whoever wins teh corresponding challenge gets to keep the treemail that they received that day. So when he won the gross food eating challenge, he was “excited that [he’d] have a treemail message to [his] own” to take home and frame.
But someone used it for kindling for the fire and it was gone, which really bummed Cochran out. So at the next challenge, he asked Probst if production could make him a new one.
“A few days later, our next challenge was ‘Last Gasp’ — that torturous one where players float on their backs in the ocean, faces pressed against a steel grate, struggling to breathe as the tide rises. … It was during that time that I explained to Probst my situation with the gross food treemail, and how much it would mean to me if the challenge department could print another copy for me to keep as a souvenir. With my ears fully submerged underwater, I could still make out Probst’s muffled ‘Shut up, Cochran.’ So I did, and meekly resumed drowning myself,” said the Survivor winner.
Yeah, but did production print him another gross food treemail?! We’ve reached out for comment and we’ll update the post when we won.
Survivor will most likely not return until fall 2021 with season 41, which should begin filming in April.