Survivor: Nicaragua, Shannon Elkins
The slip-ups on Survivor are usually involve alliances, blind sides and hidden immunity idols, but the La Flor tribe's Shannon Elkins got himself in much deeper water during his final tribal council. After arguing with former ally Chase Rice, Shannon turned to tribemate Sash Lenahan. "Hey, I'm gonna get this out of the way right now," viewers heard him say. "Are you gay"? Shannon says the show edited him to take his words out of context, but it's clear he said something about homosexuality from the argument that followed: Shannon and Sash debate who's had "more beautiful girlfriends" and Shannon says Sash's city, New York, is "full of a bunch of gay people." (CBS declined to comment on the editing, but you can watch the exchange at the 36-minute mark here.) Shannon, a 30-year-old business owner, talked with TVGuide.com about the miscalculations that made him Nicaragua's second castaway.
Watch full episodes of Survivor: Nicaragua
TVGuide.com: How quickly did you figure out that Chase could not be trusted?
Shannon Elkins: There were some scenes [CBS] didn't play where Chase and Brenda were actually kind of hot and heavy the first night we were there. We knew they were a team. ... When you have a couple, especially when the girl is as powerful as Brenda, you got to break them up. I tried to team with Chase, but I knew Chase was in love with the girl. She had his balls in her back pocket. I knew he wasn't going to do what he said he was going to do. ... What pissed me off about it, and the reason I came off so pissed-off in tribal, was that the vote was changed behind the scenes for me. It wasn't changed on the island where I could give myself a fighting chance.
TVGuide.com: How did you know you were going home?
Shannon: If your tribemates aren't looking you in the face before tribal council, you know you're going home. So I was like, "You know what? Screw it. I'm just going to call all these people out."
TVGuide.com: Did you know what exactly you were going to say right before tribal council?
Shannon: I didn't plan anything. I was so pissed off that Chase — the one who said he's playing with loyalty, honor and respect — changed his vote. He thought he was on the friggin' Bachelor and didn't realize we were playing Survivor. You don't fall in love out here. ... It pissed me off because I was a straight shooter with him.
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TVGuide.com: What inspired the gay comment to Sash?
Shannon: I'm sorry Sash got in the way. In no way, shape or form am I a homophobe. In no way, shape or form am I sexist. ... You know how editing works, I didn't come out like that and say, "Are you gay?" Everybody in America knows the guy is gay, I didn't have to call him out. What happened was he kept bashing me and telling me I had been lying the whole time. So finally, I said, "Look, dude, I lied to you when you lied to me." He said, "When did I lie to you?" I said, "When you told me you weren't gay." That's how it really went down. ... On TV, if you watch the show, you don't even see my mouth move. That's not how it went down. That was retarded.
TVGuide.com: Do you regret saying it? Do you realize you offended some people with your comments?
Shannon: I said it, I questioned him on it. Who cares? I wasn't gay-bashing. I didn't say gays were stupid or anything. He can be gay all he wants, I don't care. I'm not the judge, the ultimate judge is up in heaven. I'm not going to apologize for what I said. ... I called out one guy basically just showing that he was a liar. Do I understand that I could have hurt people's feelings? Probably so. Is everybody going to love me in life? Hell no. I can't please everybody. First off, I was out there for six days, I hadn't taken a s---, I hadn't eaten anything, I had already dropped 20 pounds. I was hungry and I was tired of people's bullshit. It was better than punching him in the face.
TVGuide.com: Would you have done anything differently?
Shannon: I wouldn't have done anything differently. If I went in there and let them blindside me, I knew I was going home. The things I said, it scared Kelly B. and she went to the other side. I can't blame her. I would have gone and voted with the other side too, because now they would be targeted for sticking by me. I wouldn't have changed anything. Otherwise, you know what you would be talking about right now? Dan's d--- $1600 pair of Alligator shoes [which were thrown into the lagoon during the same episode]. Now you have something to talk about and I made a little TV for you. It's at my expense, so enjoy it.
TVGuide.com: So it is just about making good TV?
Shannon: No, Mark Burnett makes good TV, but you have to have people say crazy crap to make it.