Richard Hatch is “financially devastated,” says prison “reduced my arrogance”

Richard Hatch may not be in Samoa taping the all-star 20th season of Survivor, but was on TV today, appearing on The Today Show for his first post-prison interview.

Hatch is currently under house arrest and wearing an ankle bracelet as he finishes out his four-year prison sentence for tax evasion, and says he is now “financially devastated.” Still, he says he will pay what he owes on his taxes. “Whatever they assess, I’m going to pay. Whatever is owed, I will pay. I’ve to this day never had an assessment. There were other issues on those tax returns, as there would be on any American’s return, that people would question.”

He also insists that he was targeted. “I know without question that there are personal issues involved for the prosecutor. I don’t know why. The prosecutorial misconduct has been egregious. He told the court I didn’t pay my taxes in 2000, and he told the court I haven’t been cooperative. The IRS specifically contradicts that. I don’t have a bill for 2000. I haven’t even been assessed for 2000. And I’ve been fully cooperative,” he said. Regarding the judge, who wouldn’t allow jurors to be asked about their opinions about gay people, he said, “My personal opinion: He discriminated against me. I do believe that. I don’t think you or anyone else could deny that we, as homosexuals, face discrimination.”

If people are skeptical about his claims–and he didn’t address his lawyer’s claim that he caught others cheating and CBS agreed to pay his taxes, which still doesn’t make any sense–Hatch said, “It’s not me playing the system. That’s what I said in the beginning, that I didn’t think of life after ‘Survivor’ as a game. I’m not out to play anything.” He also said, “People watched me play that game, and they know that I’m relatively bright.”

Matt Lauer also asked him, and this is a direct quote, “as the gay man who liked to get naked, how does that go over when you’re sent to a prison and you’re locked up in a room with 50 guys?” Hatch said, “I was treated fine. I was never assaulted.”

Watch the interview, which may be most interesting for its clips of Rich on the original Survivor (Probst looks so young!) and how much different Hatch looks today:

After prison, first ‘Survivor’ is broke and bitter [Today Show]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.