Ex-Survivor star’s outrageous claims
A contestant from last year's season of Australian Survivor has launched a furious attack on the program, declaring his "hate" for it and alleging that conditions at camp are a whole lot cushier than they're depicted to viewers.
American-born Russell Hantz, 46, competed on the 2018 season of Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders amid much fanfare, given his impressive Survivor pedigree.
He is a veteran of the game, having appeared on three separate seasons in the US claiming the runner-up on Survivor: Samoa and the second runner-up on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.
Hantz's stint on the Australian iteration of the franchise wasn't as successful, though - he lasted a mere five days, and was the first contestant on the Champions tribe to be voted out.
In a video uploaded to his YouTube channel this month titled "My survivor buffs! HATE for Australian 'survivor'", Hantz blows his nose on his Australian Survivor buff before listing his issues with the program (his rant starts at 4:40):
Hantz claims that Australian Survivor contestants have access to luxuries including toilets, toilet paper, bottled water, and "fruit everyday."
"We had an unlimited supply of food - all you want," he said. "I don't respect that."
Hantz claims he even confronted the show's executive producer to insist that Survivor creator Mark Burnett and the program's long-running US host Jeff Probst would "hate" to see the conditions on Australian Survivor.
"This isn't how Survivor's played. They play for 50 days and act like it's a big deal - it's 50 days of camping. Who can't do that? If you want to be part of the Survivor family, then get it together," he said.
So how do Hantz's shocking claims actually stack up?
Hantz's 'revelation' of an on-site toilet facility, isn't actually news - host Jonathan LaPaglia told news.com.au as much himself back in 2016.
"There is a porta-potty near their camp, yes. But that's it, nothing else. I don't think (the porta-potty) is particularly great, let's say that," LaPaglia told us.
"Environmentally, when somewhere like Samoa is kind enough to let us shoot there, we have to treat the place with a certain respect, and leave it as we found it. Sanitation is an issue."
News.com.au understands similar environmental measures have been in place since filming moved from Samoa to Fiji for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
So there you have it - while watching two dozen people poo all over a beach would no doubt make for riveting television, basic toilet facilities are the one small 'luxury' contestants get to enjoy.
This is an odd one - Hantz's claims of access to an "unlimited supply of food" simply don't square with the drastic weight loss experienced by everyone who appears on the show, including all the contestants who outlasted him on his season. His tribe mate, former rugby league payer Mat Rogers, lost 13kg in 37 days.
One of this year's evictees bikini model Sam Schoers lost a staggering 8kg across her 16 days at camp, and had no hesitation in naming "starvation" as the toughest part of the Survivor experience.
"Day seven, day eight of winning no rewards - the starvation was real. It's such a unique place to be in where you just don't have access to food," she told news.com.au.
And perhaps that's the key: Rewards. Hantz was eliminated just five days into the competition, after his tribe had enjoyed early wins in two challenges - in the first episode they won a big bag of oranges, rope and a fire-making kit, and a reward challenge win in episode two meant they also got to take a 'comfort pack' including pillows, blankets and bottled water back to camp. So the luxuries Hantz listed were in fact hard-won by his teammates.
Perhaps the lesson from Hantz is this: Surviving Survivor is surprisingly easy (so long as your tribe wins the early reward challenges … then votes you out immediately).
Australian Survivor airs 7.30pm Sunday to Tuesday on Ten.