With all the talk of race and cultural considerations in “Survivor” taking up much of the discussion within the fanbase over the past week, largely due to last Wednesday’s dramatic and impactful episode, some alumni of the show have not been afraid to voice their opinions on the controversial subject.
Three-time player and well-known villain Russell Hantz recorded a YouTube video for his channel recently, giving his take on the discussion initiated by Maryanne Oketch and Drea Wheeler about minority players often being eliminated several rounds in a row. Here’s what he had to say.
Hantz Wonders White Players Are Now ‘Put in Jeopardy’
In the video, which he recorded alongside “Survivor: Fiji” contestant Kenward “Boo” Bernis, Hantz started off by saying that he “understand[s] [Drea’s] frustration.” “I can’t completely understand it, because I’m not a black person … I haven’t dealt with maybe [what] she’s dealt with in her life.” However, he believed that Maryanne, on the other hand, “[didn’t] seem upset at all, until Drea [got] upset.”
“If Drea would’ve never said anything,” Hantz said, “Maryanne would’ve voted for Drea.”
He attempted to poke a hole in the women’s logic by saying that he believed that Drea and Maryanne were referring to white people “when they mean racist.” “They don’t mean Asian people, they don’t mean the Mexican crew … They mean me. They mean me being racist, they mean Jonathan being racist.” However, he pointed out that not one of the people who voted out Rocksroy Bailey – which precipitated the whole discussion in the first place – was white. “But that’s what she [was] alluding to,” he said. “You can’t tell me it’s not. It is.”
“Where are we going with this?” he added. “How far are we going to go?”
Hantz then expressed his fear that this new dynamic could negatively affect white players in future seasons of the game. “So, what happens now?” he said. “How do we go forward with this? How does a white male play this game now? … Does this put all the white people in jeopardy and change their game because they can’t vote for a person of color?”
Hantz then said white players might now start to wonder, “Am I gonna be on ‘The View‘ when I vote out three black people in a row?” When Boo interjected, “Now am I supposed to [incorporate] that in[to] my strategy?” Hantz responded, “That’s messed up.”
Hantz & Boo Believe That Maryanne’s Idol Play Was ‘Very Honorable’
Despite the fears Hantz and Boo expressed for future white players of the show after last Wednesday’s episode, they also declared their support for Drea’s heartfelt discomfort at seeing Rocksroy on the jury, as well as Maryanne’s decision to play her idol, which she said she did in order to dispel future accusations from viewers that she and Drea only brought up race in order to “play the race card.”
Hantz said during the conversation that he “appreciate[s]” Drea’s determination that there would not be a third black person in a row to be voted out, but expressed a bit of scepticism given that Drea had voted for Chanelle Howell, who was one of those two black people.
“I think that it hit deep, deep for her,” Hantz said, “even though she was one of the ones that voted one of the African American person, the person of color, out. Even though she was responsible for that.”
“I don’t think she thought it was a race-driven thing,” Hantz went on. “I think she thought, ‘We see this all the time, I’m just sick of seeing it!’ … She turned it into a race thing. That’s how it happened.”
Hantz and Boo concluded by praising Maryanne’s decision – on a personal level – to use her idol, though said that it was poor gameplay. Hantz said that it was a “beautiful moment for her on her ‘Survivor’ journey,” but agreed with Boo’s sentiments when he clarified that in terms of gameplay, it was a “horrible move. [But] in showing your heart, you showed everybody your heart. That’s beautiful.”
Be sure to catch “Survivor 42” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. The three-hour finale will air Wednesday, May 25, 2022.