Russell Hantz wants to sue his tribemates over contract violations (oh, the irony)

Russell Hantz’s elimination from Survivor Redemption Island has left him so mad that he’s threatening to sue his fellow contestants for violating the very contract that he explicitly violated on-camera, never mind accusations of spoiling the show.

In a post-eviction interview, Russell told Entertainment Weekly, “I would have never thrown a challenge. Never. I should sue every single one of them because in the contract it says you can’t throw challenges!”

This is so incredible I don’t know where to begin, and I wish someone would have called him on this bullshit. First, contestants’ contract is with CBS, not each other–although perhaps there’s some complicated legal argument that could be made about his chances being affected by their rule-breaking. But that would be laughed out of court, because, and second, is Russell seriously threatening to sue someone over violating the same contract that he violated in multiple ways, starting with the prohibition of “criminal damage” of private property, which is grounds for expulsion?

Third, unless it has recently changed, the Survivor rule book says nothing about throwing challenges. It simply says contestants “must participate” in challenges; it does not say they have to win, or try hard, or not use a strategy that results in their loss. Finally, this is from the man who revealed confidential information about two seasons to a message board poster. Seriously, does he have such little self-awareness that he can’t possibly see how absurd his lawsuit threat is? Even if it’s a joke, it draws attention to his own rule-breaking, which is dumb.

As to those spoilers, Russell continues to deny that he was responsible, and says Jim Early made it up, ignoring all of the evidence, primarily the dismissed lawsuit. Then again, Mark Burnett denied knowledge of a lawsuit his own company filed, so I don’t expect any honesty out of anyone associated with this story.

When Dalton Ross asked Russell explicitly about the e.mail messages from hantztankering that spoil parts of the show, Russell denies it not by refuting the evidence, but by using ad hominem attacks about Early’s weight:

“I did not do anything like that. That’s what pisses me off about all this stuff. I don’t like to give it any kind of credit whatsover, because every time we talk about it, it gives this guy credit, like ‘Oh, my name has been said.’ We’re talking about some fat ass sitting in tighty-whities eating Cheese Puffs and hollering, ‘Momma, where’s my pot pie?’ That’s who we’re talking about here.

In his interview with Reality TV World, he again ignored the question and said, “I’m getting so sick of trying to defend myself on this matter because all we’re doing here is trying to give this guy what he wants — whoever he is. You know? It’s stupid. If anyone knows me, they know I’m not like that. So, I don’t even like to talk about it anymore. That guy’s name will never come out of my mouth, because he wants it to.”

Just in case you don’t already think he’s delusional, Russell also said that sabotaging his own tribe in Samoa was different from his tribe throwing a challenge in Nicaragua: “Okay, what I did was strategic. I sabotaged my tribe to make them weaker because then you can control the way they feel and you can control the way they think. Let me tell you, that’s strategic play.”

Meanwhile, Russell suggested in multiple interviews that he will be back on TV soon. “I’ve got some interesting things about to happen,” he told EW. “So I’m not a Survivor whore. I don’t want to be considered a Survivor whore like Rob. I’m surprised he ain’t been on Big Brother yet. Those three: Survivor, Amazing Race, Big Brother. That’s a Survivor whore. I want my own show! That’s what I want. And trust me, I got bigger and better things coming.”

Trust him, really?

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.