A major transformation is currently underway in the entertainment world as people are calling for more diversity in movies and television. Fans of CBS hit Survivor should expect a big change moving forward and a new petition might help things happen sooner rather than later. People reported on a new petition on Make Change, which was started by former Survivor castaway J’Tia Taylor. The petition looks for anti-racism action on the show from now on and is addressed to producers Jeff Probst, Mark Burnett, and Matt VanWagenen, as well as ViacomCBS, MGM Television, Survivor Production LLC, and Castaway Production LLC.
“The executive producers of one of the most popular and influential reality television shows in history should commit to featuring Black, Indigenous, People of Color (‘BIPOC’) in their full breadth and depth. SURVIVOR should reflect and honor the racial diversity of our society–both in front of and behind the camera,” the petition reads.
The actions the petition seeks to tackle are tenfold. The first calls for 30 percent of casts to be BIPOC for every season moving forward and to give these castaways just as much screentime as their white counterparts. A third bullet point for the petition asks for mental health resources for the BIPOC cast members to “help them navigate the Survivor experience.”
Additionally, the petition calls for more BIPOC behind the camera who will be paid equally.
An important action called for by the petition is to vet potential cast members for past racist behavior and prejudices. This is not limited to prejudices against a race, but also in the context of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and religious intolerance. Subsequently, the petition asks that cast members who exhibit this behavior after the fact be publicly condemned and a “zero tolerance” policy enabled, much like CBS’s response to Dan Spillo getting the boot two seasons ago.
The last point for the petition asks for an immediate response from Survivor.
“10. Issue a public statement acknowledging systemic racism within the franchise and offer a clear plan for demonstrable anti-racism efforts moving forward.”
Survivor alumni Wendell Holland (Ghost Island, Winners at War) and Brice Izyah Johnston (Cagayan) have signed the petition, which currently stands at just over 3,100 signatures. Fellow CBS reality star Josh Martinez (Big Brother) also applauded the petition online.
CBS has not yet responded to the petition.
People also noted the important recent Zoom conversation hosted by former Survivor player Rob Cesternino. Rob hosted former Black Survivor castaways on his podcast for a discussion centered around their experiences on the reality series. Rob was joined by Ramona Gray Amaro, Clarence Black, Ted Rogers Jr., Rory Freeman, Jolanda Jones, Sherea Lloyd, Phillip Sheppard, Sabrina Thompson Mitchell, Julia Carter, Vecepia Towery, and Earl Cole.
The two-hour panel has been made available on YouTube.