Survivor Season 1 winner Richard Hatch is noticeably absent from Season 40 Survivor: Winners at War lineup and, according to Richard, he was unfairly excluded from the cast because of his sexual orientation as well as an incident that occurred on Survivor: All-Stars.
During an interview on the Domenick Nati Show on Tuesday, Richard stated that he had been invited to join the Season 40 cast, agreed to participate and had even gone through all of the “pre-show evaluations” but did not end up on the show.
Richard also stated that ‘Survivor’ host and executive producer Jeff Probst was lying when he recently claimed that Richard was never considered for Season 40. He also opened up about why he feels Jeff is homophobic.
“A big part of my being a villain as opposed to people recognizing that I played the game well had to do with that subtle kind of underlying and sometimes very not-so subtle homophobia and I suffered greatly as a result of it after the show,” Richard said.
He singled out Jeff for his use of “awfully coded language” in interviews, which Richard said is “reflective of that homophobia.”
“Jeff has repeatedly said, ‘You know, we’ve had to think about where the show is now and it’s a family show, so I just don’t think Rich fits in anymore,'” he said. “That kind of coded language has been used you know, always in history. It’s a family show, it was a family show when I won with 54 million viewers. Families watched a gay guy win the show and had wonderful conversations about what that meant.
“It’s disappointing, let’s just say that and I think it’s sad to be represented by folks, particularly now that Jeff is executive producer, who I think are missing the point,” he added.
During the interview, Richard also discussed why he is not part of the current season of ‘Survivor,’ which brought back many of the show’s most-notorious winners to compete against each other. Richard claims that, although Jeff has stated in recent interviews that Richard’s name was not brought up to be a part of ‘Winners at War,’ he was very much part of the casting process.
“What’s really fascinating is some of the interviews that Jeff Probst has been doing lately where he talks about, ‘Oh, I don’t know if he was even considered,’ that’s just an outright lie,” Richard said. “He knows I was considered and in fact, they paid for my physical and my pre-production work, so there’s no question about it.”
Richard went on to explain that, although he “did all the prep work,” was cleared to participate and “told specifically” that he was in, things changed two days before he was scheduled to fly to California for the show. He stated that on that day, both he and Tina Wesson — the winner of Season 2 “The Australian Outback”– received calls notifying them that the show had been “paused.”
“I said, ‘I don’t believe you,’ and the director of casting said, ‘I told them you wouldn’t believe me,’ and I said, ‘I don’t,'” Richard said. “And I never heard from them again.”
As to why he believes this happened, Richard cited the Season 39 Survivor: Island of the Idols incident involving Dan Spilo, who was removed from the show for allegedly touching a female crew member on the leg off-camera — something he claimed was an accident. Earlier in the season, Dan had also reportedly been warned by production after several female contestants complained of inappropriate and unwanted touching.
According to Richard, “the blowback” of the issue with Dan caused the show to “scapegoat” him, noting his own controversial incident during ‘Survivor: All-Stars’ was a bit close to what happened with Dan.
“The whole incident in [Season] 39 was about sexual harassment and 16 years ago on ‘All-Stars’, they presented an edit, kind of a tease in order to get people coming back the next episode that looked as if I engaged inappropriately with somebody else … Sue Hawk, but in fact she had decided to approach me intentionally to instigate something and I never touched a woman … ,” he said.
Richard said if he had in fact made it to the island for Season 40, he would have addressed the unfair way he was depicted on ‘All-Stars.’ He also noted that he’s “disappointed” in what he believes to be “bullying that has gone on from Day One” from producers.
“They’re in positions of power and they choose to wield that power in ways that are inappropriate,” he said. “They always have. … These folks don’t care much about us as individuals, if anything. They care about the folks that they like, that they become friends with, they care about the dollars that are made on this business. There isn’t really a relationship between the people behind the show and us.”
Richard went on to call out the show’s host and the preferential treatment he allegedly gives to some of the cast.
“Jeff Probst in particular, if he likes you, you have more opportunity,” he said. “That’s just the way it is.”
Listen to Richard’s full interview from the Domenick Nati Show below.
(Photos: Instagram; CBS; YouTube)