Survivor Artis’ secrets: personal conflict with Skupin, mystery swing vote

Artis Silvester was voted off of Survivor Philippines on Wednesday’s episode, and while he says he was not blindsided nor surprised, he’s now, in his exit interviews, concealing the identity of a mystery swing voter, and also refusing to talk about a personal conflict he had with Michael Skupin.

Why all the secrets?

First, Artis told XFinity’s Gordon Holmes, “I have a problem with Mike and it’s a personal vendetta and Mike knows what he did. I do not like to talk about people behind their back. I have a very personal problem with Mike. I’m amazed with how he’s proceeded.”

I can respect Artis not wanting to talk about something deeply personal, but to call out someone like that and then pretend you’re not talking about them behind their back is kind of ridiculous. Frustratingly, Artis refuses to reveal details (“I can’t comment on that”), and instead just reiterates how horrible Skupin is: When Gordon said that Skupin “always had a reputation for being a likable guy,” Artis says, “That’s all it is is a reputation.”

Artis said something similar in his interview with Reality TV World: “Mike’s not a nice human being as far as I’m concerned and he knows that.”

As to the vote, Artis said, “I wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t really blindsided. I knew there was one scenario that could send me home, and I was hoping that my conversation with that person — that I knew was going to be the one to send me home — I thought my conversations with that person were tight enough to convince them that I would be loyal to them and could still stay and [that person would] vote with me — rather than against me.”

So who is that, if not Skupin (“No, hell no!”)? Guess what Artis’ answer is? “I kind of want to keep that a secret,” he said.

As frustrating as these mysteries are, Artis has done a good job of making himself more interesting post-game than he was in the game.

Update: Mike Skupin offered some insight on Twitter, responding to my tweet–and someone’s suggestion that Artis’ reaction could have something to do with racism–saying that he has no problem with Artis nor with race, and suggesting that he was, in fact,: writing,

“The look on his face when the votes were cast would contradict much of this article. I’ve never had a race issue”

He added,

“Taking ownership of actions vs throwing stones in an all glass house is a better post-game strategy #ihavenoissuewithArtis”

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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.