Bacteria, not appendix, led to Colton’s Survivor exit; he wanted to give the idol to Jay

A bacterial infection, not appendicitis, is what caused Colton Cumbie’s evacuation from Survivor One World. And Colton was willing to give away his hidden immunity idol, but only to an ally on the other tribe, which producers wouldn’t permit.

Jeff Probst asked Colton about the idol, and there was some conversation excised from that. Colton told RNO, “the ironic thing is I wanted to give it to someone on Salani, but I was informed I couldn’t.” He did not elaborate beyond that. Colton elaborated in another interview, telling The Insider that keeping it made him a villain, but added, “The irony is that I wanted to give the Idol away. I wanted to give it to Jay, but we were separated so I couldn’t get it to him.”

In other words, the producers wouldn’t let him give it to a member of the opposite tribe, because he was at his tribe’s beach. That seems fair.

As to his injury, Colton told Zap2it that he’s now “obviously 100% better. What happened was I was taken to a [New Zealand] hospital where they determined it was a severe bacterial infection. They gave me a round of antibiotics, I got back to the States and I had to do another round of antibiotics. They thought it might still be appendicitis when I got back to the States, but I still have my appendix.”

As to his bigoted remarks and general behavior, which made him seem like an asshole, Colton has little more to say than what he said earlier: He was trying to be funny. He told Zap2it, “In life, you really just have to know me as a person, in regards to my sense of humor. Calling Leif a munchkin, that was supposed to be funny … I’m not that mean. You have to meet me and get to know me to see past all that.”

So in other words, that’s the same way he behaves off the show, it’s just that some people tolerate it and/or are used to it and thus don’t freak out like we did while seeing it on TV. Charming.

In fairness, however, and thankfully, Colton also said that he will actually grow and change from this: “I’m kind of glad I said it so I could see myself behave that way so I could grow as a person and make changes in my own life. If it had not been for ‘Survivor,’ I probably would’ve lived the rest of my life with this self-entitled, selfish attitude because no one would’ve brought it to my attention … it was great because it allowed me to have some personal growth.”

Clarification: The original version of this post said that Colton “was forced to exit the game with the hidden immunity idol, even though Jeff Probst’s meddling question and subsequent follow-up at tribal council suggested that he chose to leave the game with it.” That is true, but I missed the fact that he wanted to give it to Jay, on Salani, the opposite tribe, which producers wouldn’t let him do. (I missed the word “Salani” in the quote above because tribe names have been so irrelevant this season.) I regret the confusion.

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.