The Biggest Scandals To Hit Survivor

The year 2000 brought us many things. We got a new century and a new millennium, as well as things like camera phones, razor scooters, LimeWire, and Russell Crowe in "Gladiator." It was also the year that reality TV shows really began to take over the airwaves. With shows like "Big Brother" and "The Real World" captivating viewers across the country, another show hit our televisions that year called "Survivor."

"Survivor" is a reality TV show that follows contestants as they are dropped in a remote location and expected to "survive." Participants are divided into teams and compete in various challenges to earn rewards, which include things like food/cooking items, phone calls home, and immunity. The concept of immunity comes into play when teams vote during the Tribal Council to decide who must leave the competition.

Whenever you drop a bunch of random people in an uncomfortable situation and point cameras at them, drama often ensues. "Survivor" has now been on TV for 42 seasons and has had plenty of crazy things happen on the show and off. These are some of the biggest scandals to ever hit the series.

Jonny Fairplay Faking His Grandmother's Death

If you've ever seen anything to do with "Survivor," there's a pretty good chance you've heard the name Jon Dalton, aka Jonny Fairplay. When he appeared on "Survivor: Pearl Islands," he managed to become one of the show's most notorious villains. Fairplay had no problem using or backstabbing his fellow contestants to try and win the game. Though there have been many contestants who were not afraid to do somewhat questionable things, Fairplay took things to a whole new level.

During the family visit of Season 7, Fairplay's friend Dan came to see him. Sadly, Dan was not there to encourage or uplift his friend, as he came bearing terrible news: Fairplay's beloved grandmother had passed away. As Fairplay was clearly distraught, his teammates threw him the reward challenge so that he could call home to find out more about what happened.

Unfortunately for his teammates, it eventually came to light that Fairplay's grandmother was actually, in fact, alive and well. The whole thing had been a setup, and that solidified his status as a "Survivor" villain.

Jeff Varner Outing Zeke Smith

During Season 34 of "Survivor," drama ensued during the Episode 6 Tribal Council. At first, normal discussions ensued, and they're about to wrap up when Jeff Varner takes it upon himself to turn everything upside down.

In a desperate attempt to save himself from elimination, Varner suddenly states that his counterpart, Zeke Smith, is untrustworthy. He then proceeds to say that Smith has been keeping a secret from the group. What is the secret? That Smith is transgender. Varner then puts Smith on the spot and asks him why he had not shared this information with the rest of the tribe. Because, you know, his private business should be everybody's business, right?

Needless to say, Varner's plan backfired spectacularly. Smith kept his cool through the whole incident, and the tribe immediately voted Varner out. He was then ripped apart across social media, and Smith was granted many opportunities to tell his story on "The Talk" and "The Hollywood Reporter."

Caleb Reynolds' Near Death Experience

Obviously, we all know that "Survivor" is just a TV show, and because of that, we might sometimes assume that there isn't really much danger surrounding the contestants. However, just because it's being filmed doesn't mean that everything is always safe. A perfect example of this involved Season 32 contestant Caleb Reynolds.

Season 32 of "Survivor" took place in Cambodia, which is home to an extremely warm, tropical climate. Reynolds was participating in an hour-long reward challenge when the overwhelming heat began to get the better of him (per Us Weekly). When the medical team examined him, they determined his heart rate and other symptoms were an emergency. Reynolds was then immediately medically evacuated from the competition.

In an interview with People, Reynolds stated that his body temperature hit 107 degrees at its highest, and he was in the hospital for five days. It also took him a full five months to recover.

Richard Hatch Gets Too Close To Sue Hawk

Two of the most famous "Survivor" contestants came from Season 1  Richard Hatch and Sue Hawk. (The two reunited during Season 8 for the "All-Stars" season.) During his first stint on the show, Hatch became known for walking around and competing naked. His trademark lack of clothing didn't really pose any problem until he and Hawk were competing in a challenge that brought them a little closer than usual.

While competing in a challenge that involved contestants sharing a balance beam, Hatch (who was naked) ran right into Hawk, "member first." This incident caused Hawk to feel as if she had been "violated, humiliated, and dehumanized," and after a few days, she actually left the competition because of it. Hatch attempted to clear his name many times and denied any wrongdoing with his co-star. After the show, it was revealed that the two had reconciled and moved past the incident.

Survivor: Cook Islands

One of the foundational attributes of" Survivor" is that the contestants are initially divided into teams or "tribes." They are given their names and from there they compete in various challenges. These tribes have been both co-ed and divided by gender, but for Season 13, "Survivor" decided to shake things up a bit. Instead of dividing up teams by age or gender, they decided to break them up by race.

You heard that right. They decided it was a good idea to separate the teams by their race. Literally. Apparently, the idea came from the fact that the show had been asked about the lack of racial diversity, so the team's solution was to get contestants of various racial backgrounds and put each race on the same team. Multiple sponsors pulled out the show when they were informed of what was going on. Though the teams actually only remained divided this way for two episodes, audiences were not fans of the idea, and it left an awful mark on the show's legacy.

Contestants In Their Underwear

"Survivor" has now been on the air for 41 seasons, and though it is a reality show, it strives to be as authentic as possible, all the way down to what the contestants wear. One issue that has been hotly debated is the contestants running around and competing in their underwear and not in swimsuits. According to Yahoo! News, multiple contestants have voiced concerns about the embarrassment and potential health risks that are posed to them by being forced to compete in nothing but their skivvies.

Many of the competitors have had issues with being in their underwear, especially "Survivor" winner Parvati Shallow (pictured above), who was forced to wear her underwear despite having just had a baby not too long before. Additionally, other participants have stated that due to participating in wet underwear along with the poor hygiene practices during competition, they have contracted severe urinary tract infections. Some said the infections were so serious that they needed to be hospitalized. The weird part about all of this is that up until Season 36 finished, the contestants were provided swimsuits, but for whatever reason, things changed in 2018.