Last Saturday night, CBS threw a party celebrating the 10th Anniversary and 20th Edition of Survivor. This wasn’t just any party either as every Survivor contestant — even those lamely who got knocked out in the first episode — were invited, and more than 200 of them attended.
Survivor has featured quite a few gay contestants over the years including Season One winner Richard Hatch who made a big impression on the show and at the party (where he kept his clothes on). Also attending was Survivor : China winner Todd Herzog along with Charlie Herschel (Survivor : Gabon), Spencer Duhm (Survivor: Toncatins), Brad Virata (Survivor: Cook Islands), Rafe Judkins (Survivor: Guatemala), and Coby Archa (Survivor: Palau).
I got a chance to chat with Hatch who looked remarkably fit after his stint in prison. He was also very outspoken, and watching him do other interviews, I get the impression he doesn’t suffer fools gladly.
Here is what Hatch had to say on a variety of matters.
On his tax conviction:
I’m in the midst of being exonerated … for everything. Completely. I didn’t do anything. I am absolutely innocent. And eventually, whether I’m exonerated or not, that will come out.
Hatch said he’d been taking meetings with producers in Hollywood. Asked about them and if they might have a significant gay aspect, Hatch said:
There sure might. I have projects in the works right now on TV. I’m sure it might have a gay angle. I hope that what I do won’t be …. whatever I do hope it will have a gay angle.
About the significance of his winning teh first Survivor and raising gay visibility on reality programming:
I feel really honored to have been in the position I was at the time, but didn’t know it. I’m just a guy who couldn’t have cared less what you or anyone else thinks about me. I’m a gay man. I’ve been a gay man my entire life. I couldn’t have cared what other people thought if I was gay or not.
Lucky for me, when I was really really young, I realized that the people who had a problem with my being gay were the ones with the problem. So it was fascinating for me when the show was over and kids and teens and grown me in their fifties and sixties wrote from all over to tell me what it meant to them for me to be so — and I don’t want to say open … whatever I was. Comfortable with who I am. And I am. It’s such a stupid non-issue. Or it should be. So it’s an been an honor to feel what I didn’t even expect to feel from the gay community.
I did get some flak from some gay folks who wrote and said I wasn’t gay enough and that they didn’t relate to me and I thought "What the living hell is up with that?" We come across as a spectrum.
On gay issues:
Our country is a bigoted country. We’re second class citizens. We’re not allowed to marry. They can’t stop me from marrying. I’m happily married and I have been for six years. But my spouse isn’t allowed to live or work in this country. He can only visit. That’s insane. It’s intolerable.