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Racist Survivor?

The decision to divide contestants by race on Survivor: Cook Islands was followed by an advertiser walkout by Home Depot, Campbell Soup, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola North America, Johnson & Johnson and even General Motors, which has sponsored the show for 12 seasons. (gm maintains its decision had nothing to do with the racial divisions.)
October 1, 2006

The decision to divide contestants by race on Survivor: Cook Islands was followed by an advertiser walkout by Home Depot, Campbell Soup, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola North America, Johnson & Johnson and even General Motors, which has sponsored the show for 12 seasons. (GM maintains its decision had nothing to do with the racial divisions.)

In the Hollywood Reporter, Ray Richmond joined a chorus of media when he let producer Mark Burnett have it for ‘tapping a raw segregationist nerve and exploiting America’s obsession with race for personal gain.’

But Richmond need not have worried, karma tends to take care of bad decisions. Nielsen Media Research reports that the premiere episode averaged 18 million viewers in the US, the second-lowest premiere of the franchise since its debut in 2000 – initial episodes have averaged 20 million or more in the new millennium.

And, to add insult to injury, even the racists aren’t happy. Some of the white supremacist boards are dismissing the casting move as a stunt. You have to ask yourself: just how far have you strayed from the pack when even racists don’t want a piece of the action?

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.

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