October 12, 2012 08:00 AM by Ryan Haidet
If you were here searching for an exit interview with Russell Swan — the latest contestant booted from Survivor: Philippines — think again. Just one minute after his elimination episode was over, I received an e-mail from a CBS representative that said the conference call with Russell had been canceled because of his “busy work schedule.” I was instantly suspicious that Russell didn’t want to openly discuss his terrible strategies and lackluster gameplay, so he concocted an excuse. It’s like calling off sick when you have full intentions to leave early for vacation. Seriously, if this guy could find the opportunity to take two extended periods of time away from work for both seasons, I don’t buy the “busy” excuse. And neither should you.
Here’s how the exit interviews typically work for me. Every week, I’m included in a 30-minute open-forum conference call with other web reporters early in the afternoon. Throughout the call, everybody fires questions at the recently eliminated castaway. It has been that way for years. This conference call allows for multiple reporters to get their interview done in a very tight amount of time. This 30-minute conference call is just one of dozens of interviews each castaway undergoes the day after their elimination episode hits the airwaves.
But Russell couldn’t have been too busy because he somehow managed to squeeze time in for the almighty EW.com. Within 30 seconds of their 17–minute discussion, Russell’s egomaniac attitude took over as he basically admitted to not wanting to talk with reporters. So much for that “busy” thing.
Here’s what he had to say in his opening statements with Dalton Ross, which you can hear posted at EW.com: “I really am worried about answering any questions at this point because I really don’t trust myself to answer any questions right now. This is still pretty raw. This has been a pretty hard time. And here’s how it plays out. Last night, I wanted to make sure that my daughter understood that daddy was gonna get voted out, because, of course, that didn’t happen before. I let her know. She’s 9. She asked me, she says, “Well, why daddy? Why are you gonna get voted out?” I said, “Well, our tribe is gonna lose another challenge and they’re gonna vote daddy out.” And she proceeded to cry. That was just a culmination of what’s been a very tough set of circumstances. The only thing I know to do at this point is to basically reign myself in. Understand that this compartment is tough. It exists, I can’t ignore it. People are gonna say what they want to say. That’s all I really can say. I’m in a really tough psychological situation and in the fullness of time I will be better and I will have much more to say. But right now, I think it’s just premature to really answer any questions or really delve too deeply into this thing.”
Still think he was too “busy” for any interviews with the bulk of the media? I don’t. This proves my point. Russell simply didn’t want to talk about his gameplay because he can’t take the criticism of being a terrible castaway. Period. If he could make 17 minutes(!) for one media organization, he could have made 30 for multiple ones at once. He certainly didn’t help improve his image by skipping out on these interviews. Total mistake.
In all my years of covering the show, this is only the second time a conference call interview was canceled. The first time involved Kelly Bruno from Survivor: Nicaragua after her elimination episode aired in late October 2010. We were all told she was unavailable because she was traveling at the time. No interviews were rescheduled.
For somebody who wants to live like a superhero without ever failing, he could start working on his failures by admitting he’s not perfect. His lack of interest in chatting with reporters is just another failure disguised as a pity party. Sorry, Russell. This game isn’t cut out for you.
Do you buy that Russell was too busy with work to talk to us? What are your thoughts of his comments he made to EW.com? Are you happy or bummed that he was booted from the game? Sound off and leave a comment below!
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Photo Credit: CBS