October 25, 2013 08:00 AM by Ryan Haidet
When it comes to villains on Survivor: Blood Vs. Water, former NFL player Brad Culpepper is the primary culprit. He was disliked by many tribemates, cussed out with harsh words from Marissa Peterson, accused of shushing women and a predictable target for social media bashing by fans of the show. When I talked with Brad after he was officially booted from the game in this week’s episode, he addressed being considered a villain — but disagreed with the title. He repeatedly said his strategy this season was to make sure he wasn’t hurting Monica’s success at potentially winning the game. But that’s just the tip of the pigskin. Brad had lots more to say…
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: You have been vilified this season. You have been beat up on social media. But do you feel like you’re a villain when you watch the show?
Brad Culpepper: The response I get from the local community is that they love it. They like that I’m on there getting the attention. Jeff (Probst) likes to use my last name and I’m a focal point on the show. They (locals) seem to think I’m a hero. The social media community tend to think I’m being portrayed as a villain. I don’t think of myself as a villain. The moves that I made weren’t necessarily helping me, but my motivation in this game was to help Monica and to not hurt her position on her tribe. A lot of people can’t wrap their minds around the strategy I had. So, they think I’m an idiot. As long as Monica is playing the game and playing hard, I’m in there. You know my math: One equals two. Plan number one would have been for me to be in the game with her. Plan number two is for her to play and me be out.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: So, the moves you were making were to benefit Monica down the line more than yourself?
Brad Culpepper: Not originally. Going into it, it’s like fend for yourself. But we kept losing every challenge. I had no idea what was happening with Monica’s alliance because they hadn’t sent anybody home. We had no basis to know who she’s with or who she’s not with. When she was on Survivor: One World, she never got a chance to play. She was never in an alliance. Going into this season, I wanted to make the merge with her, but I definitely didn’t want to be the reason she was going out. Rachel wasn’t my first to get rid of, it was more Vytas. All of a sudden, Tyson stands up and starts pointing at “Mr. football guy.” I’m like, “What do you want, bike repair man?” He’s blaming me (for Rachel’s elimination). All of a sudden I’m thinking, “They’re gonna get rid of Monica because they don’t like me. They think I’m the reason why their loved ones are going out.” At that point, it’s not a matter of protecting Monica, it’s a matter of not injuring her. When we lose again, I really felt hesitant on sending out somebody else that could be apparently connected to Monica. … They were all blaming me and I was afraid they were going to get rid of Monica because they’re mad at me. If I was playing without Monica in a regular Survivor, I’d go five guys to the end. I’d never go against John. But I know that John’s wife was not connected with Monica. If I get rid of John, it’s not going to hurt her. If I get rid of somebody else, it’s gonna potentially hurt her. I spoke to Vytas a long time that day, we said, “We’re gonna trust that Monica and Aras are together and can protect themselves.” I was voting Ciera, but I didn’t like that for the fact that Monica could be with her mom, Laura. That was the whole thought process. A lot of people can’t wrap their mind around it. It’s the way it is.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: Did you know Marissa was that angry with you before she cussed you out at Redemption Island?
Brad Culpepper: Not at all. She was the square peg in the round hole. You talk to anybody on our tribe. She was the youngest, a little bit of a fish out of water. While CBS chose to air the part of us talking about Gervase (celebrating his tribe’s victory), that was a small part of it. They magnified it. I don’t think anybody was expecting the way she came out. She was very angry. Maybe she has anger issues. I don’t know. I spent very little time with her. I didn’t shush anybody. If I was a tyrant or a sexist or misogynistic, I would have had plenty of votes early on. There was never even a discussion about voting me out. It was a bit ridiculous. She was angry and voicing out what she thought was the reason why.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: But aren’t you concerned that your actions were actually hindering the potential success of Monica’s game instead of helping?
Brad Culpepper: 100 percent. That’s the biggest problem I was having. Everybody was pointing the finger at me, which was jeopardizing her position. The only reason I wanted to play was to give her a chance to play. She never got a chance to play in One World. For whatever reason, the vitriol is coming at me and it’s gonna affect her adversely on her tribe. Those were my entire thoughts. I couldn’t do much about it. These girls are yelling; you got the toned-down version. There was a lot of personal insults that were thrown out there that they couldn’t even air because it didn’t make sense. CBS couldn’t even put it on air. The viewer would have been like, “What?” It was just ridiculous.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: Who is the one person still standing who you would absolutely not want to see win the game?
Brad Culpepper: That’d probably be Caleb, wouldn’t it. I mean, he got me voted out.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: Let’s change direction and talk about Hayden. We haven’t seen much of him this season and very little has been discussed about him being a winner of Big Brother. Was that a reason for the folks at Tadhana to target him?
Brad Culpepper: No way. Hayden was my guy. I actually got along with everybody on my tribe. Girls and guys. But Hayden and I really hit it off. He was a college athlete. We had a lot in common. Most of the guys had a lot in common. John played college basketball. Hayden played college baseball. I played college football, obviously. Vytas was a huge sports fan, he loves basketball. Caleb was a huge Alabama football fan. We all kind of had a kinship. A locker room-type kinship. Hayden’s a good dude, man. He wasn’t opinionated and he obviously knows how to meld into a crowd without being overwhelming. He, probably, as the game moves on, will become more of a threat because of that. But at this point, no man. He was awesome. He voted to pull a rock for me! I love the guy!
What are your thoughts on Brad Culpepper? Did you like watching him? Would you classify him as a villain? Do you think he truly helped Monica get deeper in the game or do you think his moves screwed everything up? Sound off and leave a comment below!
Photos courtesy of CBS.