Two-time “Survivor” contestant and one-time runner-up Spencer Bledsoe, who now goes by his middle name, Reiman (pronounced like “Simon with an ‘R’,” according to his Facebook page), used to be a “Survivor” fan favorite. Many considered his first season, in which he placed fourth, one of the greatest in the show’s history, partly due to his legendary feud with fellow contestant Kass McQuillen. Both were voted back into the game by fans a year later for season 31, where Spencer ended up placing second. As of early 2021, he had even done two popular AMA’s on the show’s subreddit, answering many questions about his life and his time on the show.
Recently, however, Bledsoe made a blog post commenting on multiple societal issues including “the patriarchy,” the definition of “women,” and the COVID-19 vaccine, among many other topics. Following this, and an impromptu AMA in which these issues were discussed, Bledsoe faced an extraordinary reckoning from the show’s fanbase which used to adore him.
Here’s everything you need to know:
Bledsoe Referred To COVID Vaccine Mandates As ‘Tyranny’
Bledsoe posted his controversial 8,000+ word blog post, titled “The Heterarchy,” on November 24. He began by revealing that he has “started a new chapter of life” after having moved to rural Ecuador, partly due to the COVID vaccine mandates in the States. He explained that his “opposition to the medical tyranny emerging around the world” will likely make it difficult to continue his relationship with his girlfriend, Kailey, who chose to stay in Chicago, even though he described her as “the woman I love more deeply than I ever imagined to be humanly possible.” He also claimed that she chose to take the vaccine only due to “immense social pressure.”
He said that while some might view the term “medical tyranny” as a bit excessive, he believed that “livelihood-destroying lockdowns and other draconian measures of the past twenty months” do indeed qualify as tyranny.
He also referred to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden as a “tyrannical female politician,” linking to a clip of her discussing certificates for vaccinated citizens.
While he clarified that he respected the free will of all individuals to make their own choice, he said he has “chosen not to take the “vaccine” being pushed on humanity by authoritarian governments,” and as a result may lose the ability to travel in the future.
He also said that he “love[s] and respect[s]” each reader, and each member of a convoluted humanity he described as:
the democrats, the republicans, the libertarians, the Karens pushing masks, the indigenous peoples warding off medical tyrants, the medical tyrants, the crazy “anti-vaxxers,” the fascists known as Antifa, the racist Trumpers, the non-racist Trumpers, BLM, the basement-dwelling QANON gargoyles, the militant green-haired feminists, the butthurt “men’s rights activists,” the true egalitarians, everyone in between and everyone who forms their own views without the need for a label or a tribe.
Bledsoe Also Made Controversial Statements on Trans Rights
In a section describing his views of the patriarchy and how women have been treated in the world, Bledsoe veered into commenting on the evolution of language to benefit transgender people, and other social issues. He wrote in the blog: “the fact that the kids these days actually say “people with vaginas” and “people who menstruate” unironically, rather than saying women, is yet more degradation (of women, but also of objective truth, which tends to aid the cause of making humanity believe lies).”
He referred to the American Psychological Association‘s official denouncement of “traditional masculinity,” as “misandrist,” and said that terms like “toxic masculinity” were “abhorrent.” He claimed that such language was all part of a plan for the “dominator system [to use] its scarily masterful, barely noticeable, trauma-based mind control on men.”
Bledsoe Claims He Is Not an ‘Anti-Vaxxer’
On Tuesday, about two weeks after the blog posting, Bledsoe participated in another AMA, in which many users grilled him for his comments. Shortly after it ended, the subreddit’s moderators took it down, though it has also been archived.
In the description for the AMA, which was massively downvoted by fans, Bledsoe clarified that “I am not, nor have I ever been, an ‘anti-vaxxer’,” and he that was partly motivated to do the AMA because of people “spouting that I’m an ‘anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorist’,” which he described as “categorically false.” He pled to fans to “please stop saying that.”
He implored users to read a new blog post of his, posted Tuesday, in which he explained that he didn’t take the COVID vaccine, a word which he always put in quotation marks, because, “In a sentence…I believe the risk outweighs the benefit.”
In the new blog, he wrote, “at no point has the risk of Covid seemed greater to me than the risk of the mass-scale medical experiment we’re living through.” He went on:
I’ve never been an “anti-vaxxer,” unless you define “anti-vaxxer” to include those who oppose the government mandating medical procedures, in which case your definition is absurd…What pains me the most about the “vaccine” is that it has exacerbated heartbreaking trends of polarized division and hatred that were already at a fever-pitch in our society.
Bledsoe Spouted Misinformation As Fans Raged Against Him
Fans did not take kindly to Bledsoe’s remarks, despite his explanation. When asked by one user in his AMA why he is judging the COVID vaccine without any medical expertise, Bledsoe responded:
If my promotion of my personal decision, and discussion of information surrounding that decision, ends up costing anyone their lives, then I’m deeply sorry. However, I feel there are greater costs to self-censoring my opinion, and to the premise that individuals can’t be trusted to evaluate the various perspectives out there and come to their own conclusions, ideally with their doctor.
When asked by another fan to clarify why he believed the risks to COVID outweighed the risks to the vaccine, Bledsoe repeated some false information:
I don’t think anyone is objectively familiar with the long-term effects of COVID, though I can appreciate that organ / neurological damage could be among them. Overall, though, given the survival rate of 99.7% and the fact that I’ve seen little-to-no firsthand evidence of seriously problematic long-Covid, I think those risks are outweighed by the huge increase in myocarditis and other heart issues resulting from the mRNA shots, for starters.
In reality, the effects of long COVID (long-term symptoms of the virus after having been infected) are well-researched, and can be greatly physically and psychologically damaging to those affected, including young and otherwise healthy people. Long COVID can even cause organ damage, according to the Mayo Clinic. Furthermore, myocarditis and other harmful heart-related issues due to the vaccine are incredibly rare, and can almost always be treated properly with medicine and rest, according to the CDC.
Many fans online are lamenting what they see as the downfall of a once highly-regarded figure in the “Survivor” universe through memes and commentary, with some even suggesting that “Cambodia” may have “broken” him. Bledsoe has been very open about his mental health struggles, including depression and anxiety, though he has vigorously documented, including in his November 24 blog post, how he had these struggles since before his time on the show.
Considering how he seems to have settled in Ecuador for the long-term, as well as how the fan perception for him has changed so dramatically, it is unlikely that Bledsoe will ever return to the show. Furthermore, he said in his AMA that he “[doesn’t] think” he will ever play again. However, his two seasons are still regarded highly among fans, and “Cagayan” is currently available to stream on Netflix.
Be sure to catch “Survivor” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS.