"Those false allegations bother me more than being kicked off the show," Gleason told Bryant Gumbel on Friday's Early Show. "I didn't have any [beef jerky]... None... Zero."
For those who opted to watch NBC's Friends/Saturday Night Live combo Thursday night, here's a quick recap of Survivor 2's big Scandal de Beef Jerky. Aspiring actress Jerri Manthey thought she saw her Ogakor tribemate munching on something dark brown, and without investigating it further, spread to her fellow starving Ogakors the rumor that he had a secret stash of beef jerky. The angry mob proceeded to search Gleason's belongings, but there were no snacks to be found. Even after the defendant claimed he was eating "just green grass," the gang remained suspicious so much so that they unanimously voted him out.
"They didn't believe me because it was convenient for them not to believe me," Gleason told Gumbel. "Because [they thought], 'Here's our scapegoat. Here's the guy we're going to kick off. Here's one of the strongest members, let's give him the boot.'"
Gleason tried to take the high road and not bad-mouth his accuser, but he did admit that he has "a lack of respect" for Manthey, noting that of "all the people in my group, I do not look forward to meeting Jerri again."
According to Richard Hatch, Survivor's original champ, Gleason has no one to blame for his undoing but himself. "His crucial mistake was made the minute he arrived in Australia," Hatch told Entertainment Tonight. "He kept himself separate from the group, isolated, mysterious. By spending all of his time alone, he made himself vulnerable.
"Players in Survivor 2 seem to forget that this is a game about people," Hatch added. "Even after [Kel] was accused of withholding food, he didn't learn his lesson. He gave his explanation and left, leaving the group free to bad-mouth him again."
So, what was Gleason doing during all that time alone? According to the New York Post, it wasn't hiding beef jerky. The Big Apple tabloid, citing unnamed sources, insinuated that Gleason was at one point caught by his teammates "pleasuring himself." Laughed the mysterious mole: "He's traumatized."