Jeff Probst: Nude contestants aren’t allowed on ‘Survivor’ anymore because the ‘culture’ has changed

In past seasons of CBS’s long-running reality TV show “Survivor,” contestants were often seen walking around nude, including most notably Richard Hatch, the winner of Season 1 (“Borneo”) and a controversial figure in Season 8 (“All-Stars”). However, Jeff Probst noted at a recent event that since the “culture” has changed, “Today it wouldn’t get past our producers for half of a second.”

As the four-time Emmy-winning host explained, “It speaks to the fact that ‘Survivor’ is always of the moment because it’s fresh. Not withstanding returning players, you typically have new people playing and whatever is happening in the culture is what’s happening.” In other words, “Survivor” has evolved, so if you want to see pixelated bodies go watch “Naked and Afraid.”

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Speaking of Hatch, Probst added, “No one thought anything in that first season, other than it was not that attractive to look at. But we didn’t think anything about it.” Hatch proudly strutted around naked throughout that entire first cycle, which at the time was laughed off by his fellow contestants — remember, this was two decades before the #MeToo movement impacted our social environment.

When Hatch returned for another round in “All-Stars,” he infamously rubbed his naked body against Sue Hawk during a challenge. At the time Probst scolded him by saying, “Guys, come on. No one cares about that stuff.” But Hawk couldn’t get that moment out of her head. She ended up feeling so “violated, humiliated, dehumanized and totally spent” that she quit the competition.

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“I was sexually violated,” Hawk stated flatly while making her announcement midway through the “All-Stars” season. “To have some guy come up, he passed a half a dozen people on platforms and never touched ’em. It went too far. He crossed the line with me. I’m spent and I’m done with this game. There’s no way I can continue with my emotions pushed to the ground that much.”

The Hatch/Hawk story came back into the spotlight in “Survivor: Island of the Idols” when contestant Dan Spilo had to be removed from the game due to an off-camera “incident.” While Spilo didn’t go naked on the show, his constant touching of other castaways dominated the final episodes for all the wrong reasons. “We have learned a lot and it will inform our process moving forward,” Probst declared at the time.

SEE exclusive predictions: Who will win ‘Survivor: Winners at War’?

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