Some “Survivor” fans are up in arms about a new alliance that formed on the October 27 episode, calling it “racist” and saying it’s the “Big Brother” Cookout alliance all over again. Here is what you need to know about what happened and what fans are saying.
The Alliance Formed Between 4 Black Players
On the October 27 episode of “Survivor,” the merge happened (sort of). As we saw at the end of the cliffhanger episode, Erika Casupanan could reset the merge if she chooses. But for now, the tribes have merged and four players — Shantel Smith, Liana Wallace, Deshawn Radden, and Danny McCray — made an alliance to start working together to get the end.
The four players are Black and they spoke in the episode about working together to “uplift one another.”
“More than any other season I’ve ever watched on ‘Survivor,’ I think season 41 has been the most diverse and most inclusive and representative of America,” said Shan, adding later to her alliance, “Listen, I want us to be on the front page… just like, look what we did.”
Liana added, “As people of color there is a shared experience. You immediately have this bond you’re like, oh you’re the only one in your classroom that looks like you? Me too. So you have this bond and connection right off the bat. We do want to uplift one another in this game and it would be a really beautiful thing.”
As a side note, on most seasons of “Survivor” the majority of players are white, which led CBS to pledge to have more diversity in its casting process and also behind the camera.
There was “Cook Islands,” the season that cast four equally-sized groups of different ethnicities — white, Black, Asian descent, and Latinx — but that was for the express purpose of dividing the tribes by race as that season’s theme.
Some ‘Survivor’ Fans Are Angry and Calling The Alliance ‘Racist’
Twitter was immediately abuzz with fans blasting the alliance for being racist and saying “Survivor” is now “going the way of ‘Big Brother,'” in reference to the all-Black alliance the Cookout that made it to the final six on “Big Brother” season 23 this past summer. Some fans even vowed to stop watching.
“And…I just watched my last #Survivor episode. I can’t handle another racist season like we just sat through with ‘Big Brother.’ See you next year, #Survivor, if you’re done with the f***ing bulls***,” wrote one viewer.
“#Survivor just became a racist game like ‘Big Brother’. F***. Not good at all,” wrote another fan.
“Looks like CBS again make ‘racist’ issue…I never see white cast doing s*** like this…done with ‘Survivor,'” wrote a third fan.
“#Survivor going the way of #BigBrother where the true racists show up!” wrote another viewer.
“‘Survivor’ having a racist alliance just like ‘Big Brother.’ Dear white people; from now on assume the black players are aligned, and vote them out. #Survivor41,” one fan called for.
Interestingly, there were a few fans who would have been in support of this alliance except they aren’t huge fans of Danny and Deshawn and are worried they are going to betray Shantel and Liana.
“I might like this #Survivor cookout more if I didnt dislike Danny & Deshawn as much as I do,” wrote one viewer.
“The only reason why I don’t want this ‘Survivor’ Cookout to happen is that Danny and Deshawn would go far, those 2 are so obsessed with taking the women out I need them to go, I just know they’d betray Shan and Liana sooner than later, other than that I like the idea #Survivor,” wrote another fan.
For Every Fan That Hates It, There Was a Fan That Loved It
There was also a vocal contingent of viewers who were stoked to see an alliance form between the Black players — many were excited for the very reason of how much it was going to anger a certain sector of fans.
“From Undercover Brothas to the Cookout to this all black ‘Survivor’ Alliance. WHEW we eating this year #Survivor41 #survivor,” wrote one fan.
“Omg I love this Cookout 2.0, but how pissed is Facebook right now #Survivor,” wrote another fan.
“Are we getting a cookout 2.0 #Survivor41 #survivor I’m gonna cry,” wrote a third viewer.
A fourth added, “I’m smelling another cookout. Love It!!! #Survivor41 #survivor.”
What’s a little bit funny is that this alliance actually formed long before the Cookout was a thing on “Big Brother” — “Survivor 41” filmed back in April and May 2021.
Anyway, one fan articulated exactly why it is baffling to her that anyone would be mad about this, writing, “It’s just wild that people cannot even think outside themselves for one minute and consider *why* the Black players are drawn to working together because it truly is not complicated. Stay mad tho, racists. #Survivor.”
For the record, while “Survivor” has a better track record than “Big Brother” when it comes to people of color winning the game — there have been seven people of color win “Survivor” (with eight wins because Sandra Diaz-Twine won twice) and four of those seven are Black. But still, eight wins across 40 seasons is not great. All-white alliances form all the time and while they may not be explicitly about “being white,” they do form and they take out the people who are outcasts, which by nature of the casting being so heavily skewed toward white players oftentimes turns out to be people of color.
According to an NPR article about “Survivor” alumni petitioning CBS to have more diversity in front of and behind the camera, most seasons of “Survivor” have two or three Black castaways (one season had none). CBS has now pledged that 50 percent of its reality TV casts will be people of color and they are working on diversifying the production teams as well, which was another big problem the Black alumni had with the show — production would lean into racial stereotypes and edit out racism.
So, now “Survivor” has its own Cookout — maybe. According to SpoilerGirl1, a reliable spoiler account, fans might be in for a surprise about how things turn out.
But either way, castaways of color rarely had the opportunity to form alliances together in seasons’ past because there weren’t enough of them to do so. Now there are enough and we’re excited to see how it plays out.
“Survivor” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific times on CBS. The 42nd season will air in the spring of 2022. Seasons 43 and 44 are casting now, so if you’ve always wanted to apply, now is your chance!