'Survivor' tribal council upended by racially charged discussion

·Supervising Producer, Yahoo Entertainment
·4 min read

Tribal Council was more tense than usual Wednesday on Survivor, as race became the focal point of the conversation. It was a double elimination night as the 10 remaining contestants were separated into two groups of five. After the first group voted out Rocksroy Bailey, making him the second Black person in a row to be voted out, Drea Wheeler decided to make a stand during the second Tribal.

"It always happens where, at one point, the Black contestants get booted out," Drea said, before adding, "And then it's exactly what this is right now. So, yeah, I'm pissed." When Jeff Probst asked if she thought it was race-related, Drea replied, "I think it's just subconsciously a little bit of that, unfortunately."

Drea decided she wasn't going to be the third Black person voted off in a row, and declared that she was playing her hidden immunity idol, keeping her safe for the night. Drea wasn't the only one bothered by the situation, Maryanne Otech announced to the rest of the group that she couldn't write down Drea's name, as was previously planned, because she didn't want to be "part of a perpetuating problem." Maryanne also felt like, even though she didn't think she was getting any votes, she also had to play her immunity idol. "I need to play this so that people who are watching will know that I didn't make it another day because of race," Maryanne explained. "I, a thousand percent, Jeff, with a thousand percent certainty, can tell you that if both of us don't play our idols tonight, there will be someone watching and saying they used race."

Jonathan Young was listening to Maryanne and Drea talk about their concerns, and it concerned him that they thought he was racist. "I don't feel like this is right, because y'all are coming at this as like, we're racist," Jonathan said. Maryanne tried to explain that everyone can have subconscious biases, but that didn't make him feel any better. "That's saying that I'm subconsciously racist, and that's not true," he exclaimed. Drea put his mind at ease by explaining it's not about him. She told him, "Just because I'm saying how I feel, at this moment, does not mean that you can make that your problem. This is my situation, my issue. I'm addressing it the way I wanted to address it."

There were mixed reactions on Twitter, as you would imagine. There was a lot of support for Drea and Marryanne.

There were also some people who didn't think race had anything to do with who was being voted out, while others pointed out that Drea and Rocksroy were two of the people who voted out Chanelle Howell last week.

It was a very heavy discussion, but at the end of it, there was still a game to be played. Although, everyone felt awkward going through the motions of voting someone out. So Probst gave them the option of forgoing the "pomp and circumstance," as Probst called it, of going up and writing down a name, and instead they could just talk it all out right there.

So with that, Drea and Maryanne gave Probst their immunity idols, and since Jonathan also had immunity, it came down between Lindsay Dolashewich and Tori Meehan. Everyone pretty quickly decided they were voting for Tori, so she played her shot in the dark, which gave her a 1-in-6 chance of staying. Unfortunately for Tori, she did not have the luck of the draw and Probst snuffed her torch.

Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

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