Colton Cumbie, who was removed from Survivor last week for medical reasons, may be one of the most hated contestants to ever appear on the show.
Over the last week, the feeling from everyone I talk to about Colton’s departure has been unanimous: Karma’s a bitch and he’s just getting what was coming to him.
I’ve heard Colton being described as a polarizing character, but in order for that assumption to be true there would have to be those viewers who love him. I couldn’t find anyone that fit the bill - so it’s hard to believe, watching this season unfold, that he would hold the amount of power he did before his exit.
Is Colton as evil as he appeared to us watching? Has he made amends with those he so harshly condemned? Does he have any regrets?
The answers to these questions - and they may surprise you - can be found in the following candid interview I had with him this morning.
How are you feeling? Are you all better now?
Yes, I am all intact and all well. It was actually a bacterial infection of my GI tract – stomach and intestines.
How long did it take for you to recover?
I was taken out of the game and flown to New Zealand. When I got home I had to take another round of antibiotics and it took about 2 months to get batter. Whenever anyone gets medically evacuated from Survivor, well first of all, people get caught up in saying ‘they’re given food’. Whenever something like that happens it makes you realize it’s real and raw… there are people from past seasons who are still to this day dealing with parasites.
Let’s get right into it. In speaking with the last few people who you had a hand in voting out, they weren’t exactly convinced that the “real Colton” wasn’t all that different from the Survivor version. They seemed pretty appalled by your behavior. How do you respond?
Are you talking about Monica? Well, Bill is really just… he doesn’t think I’m racist, he just thinks I’m moreso like sheltered and privileged, which is more of the truth. Monica is just a bitter old woman who is mad because she got PLAYED. I mean, get over yourself. She’s like buying her fans t-shirts. I don’t treat people in life like I did in Survivor. That’s not me. I don’t sit around and let people serve me. It made for great television.
Had you remained in the game, it seems like you probably would have made it to the final 3. What would the gist of your ‘vote for me’ speech be?
I mean basically I came in as the biggest underdog in the game. I was viewed as the weakest person on the tribe and the first person to go home. I literally clawed and fought my way into power. I overcame one hurdle after another; I overcame from being on a tribe of all men and running the show there to going to arguably one of the worst tribes in survivor history. I don’t regret what I said that they’re Greek gods and we’re peasants. Look at it – it’s obvious.
Ok, well, say you got to the final 3. I dunno… do you actually think you had a chance of winning?
I do… I think I would have won and half of these conversations that we’ve had to have would never have happened. Had I won, you never would have seen, you know, I would have never been shown the negative things I said and did. I guess it’s kind of a good thing I didn’t win so I could see myself shudder and cringe at the things I said and did.
So you do actually cringe when you watch the show?
Oh for sure! Definitely certainly things I said were just, ‘Really, why did I just say that?’ and ‘Why did you talk to her that way?’
How have you handled the reaction towards you from people on the street? Because most people I talk to aren’t terribly kind when speaking about you.
A lot of people actually come up to me and say they’re big fans, and want to take pictures and tell me ‘You’re like hilarious.’ I’m really appreciative, and the opposite of that, they come up, and they’re not blatantly rude, and they wonder ‘Are you like who I think you’re like?’ They sit and talk to me and their whole opinion changes and they go from ‘And I thought you were scum of the earth’ to ‘You’re not like who you were on television.’ It’s one thing to watch someone for 40 minutes on TV every week and it’s different when you sit down and have a conversation with them.
Do you want to go back? If they asked would you do it?
If they ask I would definitely go back. If for no other reason that I feel like my Survivor story ended abruptly with something that was totally out of everyone’s control. If I go back and I’m the first person voted out then at least it’s closure. I don’t have closure right now. For me it’s always a case of ‘what if’. Like ‘What if I would have never got sick, how far would I have gone, and would I have won’. A lot of people can say, ‘I could have done this differently, I could have voted for this person or that person’. I don’t have that option. I had no control of what happened to me. No one did. Except for… umm, God. A lot of people do believe that it was divine intervention for me to go out the way I did.
Does that bother you when people say that?
People are gonna think what they want to think. Whatever helps them sleep at night. Whether it was divine intervention, Karma, ‘The devil got his due’.
But you don’t see yourself as the devil though…
I mean, no; you know, obviously the viewers do. If I were watching myself on television, I would be angry at some of the things I said. I would be upset. I think there are some people who have taken it to the extreme and were looking for any excuse whatsoever to hate me… like everything I did. I basically just want to say to them, “you’re welcome.”
Are you going to show a different side of yourself at the reunion show?
[Laughs] You know I’m not going to go on there and beg for mercy or anything because that’s not me. I’ve apologized… I don’t know really what else I can do. I can find a cure for cancer and people will still want to kill me. It’s just one of those things where… I mean at the reunion show, I’m gonna be me. People know who I am, I have a lot of support, and it is what it is. I’ve apologized, I’ll probably… one more time say I’m sorry and you can either accept it or you can’t. I’m not going to sit there and beg.
Survivor airs Wednesday nights at 8 pm on Global.