In the age of political consciousness, Black contestants on the hit show Survivor are speaking out about their experiences on the iconic reality series.
Some of the statements from the contestants accuse the producers of the CBS show of editing them into racial stereotypes and removing clips of fellow contestants using racial slurs against them from airing.
Ramona Gray Amaro, who made TV history in 2000 as the first Black woman featured on the show, told NPR that some of the stereotypes Black contestants were boxed into included, “We can’t swim … we butt heads, we’re athletic, but maybe not smart and strategic … I’m just saying, ‘Do right by us.’”
She also claimed that she was filmed looking “lazy” while she was actually just dehydrated.
“I became the lazy person, which is the furthest thing from the truth. That really upset me, and it took me a long time to get over it. … To realize, we signed our life away. They can do whatever they want to do,” she added.
Amaro is one of many Black contestants speaking about their experience on the show. Twelve Black contestants also went on a podcast with former white contestant Rob Cesternino to share similar experiences of racial stereotyping. Black alums of the show have taken different approaches to advocate for change on Survivor in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, including starting a petition to put more people of color behind the scenes for its upcoming seasons and sending a letter to CBS on Juneteenth to request a meeting.
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CBS has not addressed the contestants' allegations other than a statement to NPR saying they "condemn racism in all its forms" and are planning on scheduling a meeting between members of the Black Survivor Alliance and reps for the show.