Survivor: Top 5 Moments That Changed The Game FOREVER

AJ Wilson
|4 weeks

Survivor is an unscripted reality show. As such, players often have moments on the show that are very serious, whether that is healthy otherwise. So, in light of recent controversy, we decided to take a look at the five most serious moments in the show’s history.

#5: Caleb Has a Heat Stroke – Survivor: Kaoh Rong

Caleb’s evacuation on Survivor: Kaoh Rong. Host Jeff Probst cites as the scariest moment on the show.

Survivor: Kaoh Rong holds the record for the most medical evacuations in a season, with three. And while Neal and Joe’s evacuations were sad, Caleb’s was just scary.

After a brutal immunity challenge, three players went down: Debbie, Cydney, and Caleb. Luckily, Debbie would turn out to be just a bit overheated, but Caleb and Cydney’s injuries were far worse. Cydney had to be cooled down by doctors for a long period of time, and Caleb had to get an IV to bring his temperature down. Eventually, Cydney recovered, but Caleb was taken out of the game. Later, it turned out he had suffered from a heat stroke, and he was in a hospital ICU for five days.

#4: Colton Cumbie – Survivor: One World

A small compilation of the behavior of Colton Cumbie on both One World and Blood vs Water.

Colton Cumbie may not have been on Survivor: One World for very long, but he quickly became one of the most polarizing figures in the history of the show. After frequently stating throughout the show that he, “Doesn’t believe in handouts,” Cumbie proceeded to target Bill Posley for a lack of life goals. Bill, an amateur stand-up comedian, took umbrage to this comment and accused Colton of being racist.

Colton would go onto say that even though he went to an essentially all-white school, he had black representation in his life. When asked who that was, he said it was his family’s housekeeper. He would then go on to call her a “member of their family.” This situation led many to believe that Colton was racist, and is one of the reasons this season doesn’t have the best reputation.

#3: Will Bullies Shirin – Survivor: Worlds Apart

Shirin Oskooi from Survivor: Worlds Apart is one of my personal favorite players of all time. And while not everyone may feel the same way, most people agree she didn’t deserve this.

Will Sims II bought a mystery item at the auction, which sent him back to camp immediately. However, he also found a secret stash of food, which he shared with the tribe. Shirin questioned if it was a full amount, resulting in Will verbally assaulting her. Shirin, a domestic assault Survivor, admitted that this greatly bothered her.

#2: The Sexual Assault Controversy – Survivor: Island of the Idols

The aforementioned incident Sexual Assault Controversy from this past week’s episode of Survivor has captivated the nation. Kellee Kim alleged that fellow contestant Dan Spilo had been inappropriately touching her the entire season.

This then spiraled into a two-hour episode of the show, with players like Janet Carbin being accused of leveraging the situation for the game. Oppositely, the players who were ACTUALLY using the situation for games, such as Missy Byrd and Elizabeth Beisel, were let off scot-free.

#1: Jeff Varner Outs Zeke Smith – Survivor: Game Changers

Jeff Varner outing Zeke Smith, one of the most gut-wrenching moments in Survivor history.

This moment was one of the biggest events in Survivor history. So, Jeff Varner was on the bottom of his tribe in Survivor: Game Changers. As such, he was doing a large amount of scrambling and seemed to be getting people on his side to vote against Zeke Smith. Essentially, his pitch was that Smith and Brad Culpepper were being deceptive to their tribe-mates about their relationship. He then says that there was more, before looking at Smith and saying:

“Why haven’t you told anyone you’re transgender?”

An that moment, the entire Tribal Council goes quiet, before the entire tribe and Jeff Probst proceeded to de-bunk and shame Varner for stooping that low. He then apologized and became the first person ever verbally voted out at Tribal Council. See Jeff Probst’s full thoughts here.

Will any more moments of this caliber happen this season? Tune in to CBS at 8/7 Central each Wednesday to find out!

AJ Wilson

AJ is a sophomore college student, majoring in Sociology. Big film and video game fan. Writer for shows such as Survivor, America's Got Talent, The X Factor UK, and Dancing with the Stars!