Before his torch was extinguished on last night's Survivor: Nicaragua, fans witnessed a fiery Tribal Council that is sure to go down in Survivor history‚ courtesy of latest evictee, 30-year-old Shannon Elkins. After losing a ball-tossing challenge to the over-40s Espada Tribe, it soon became evident that the younger La Flor tribe was in turmoil, as alliances began to crumble amidst infighting fueled by mistrust.
But it would be La Flor tribe leader Shannon who, after realizing he had the largest target on his back, embarked on a diatribe that saw his fate sealed. Singled out as a liar in his tribe mates' eyes, Shannon let fly, questioning fellow player Matthew "Sash" Lenahan’s sexuality and stereotyping the city of New York (Sash’s hometown) as having a predominately gay population.
“I’m not a homophobe," Shannon tells In Touch. “If anything, I am guilty of stereotyping, and that’s what I did. Being from the South, people do that to us all the time.”
For more with Shannon, click here.
Name: Shannon Elkins
Tribe: La Flor
Current Residence: Lafayette, La.
Occupation: Pest control company owner
Eliminated: September 22
Everyone is talking about Tribal Council and you attacking Sash — do you regret it?
Shannon: First all, I didn’t bash anyone. I am guilty of stereotyping, that is the best way I can explain it. Just like everyone around the world views people from Louisiana —like in The Waterboy — in that we ride airboats to work, have no teeth and live in the swamps. We stereotype people from New York down here as either being gay or in the mob. It’s a funny joke. I laugh off being called a “hillbilly," so why can’t they laugh that off? I’m not out to judge anyone. I am far from perfect. I don’t regret anything I said, but the way you saw what I said was not how it was.
So what’s the real story?
Shannon: If you know Survivor, you know the edit can do you good or bad. I went in knowing I was going home. Chase had changed his mind, and when no one will look at you when you go into Tribal Council, you know you are going home. So it pissed me off, and I went out there and called out everybody. Sash kept on bashing me, saying I was a liar — I hadn’t lied to anyone. I snapped. I said I lied to him because he lied to me. He asked when he’d lied, and I said, “When you told me you weren’t gay.” That’s how it went down. I didn’t have to ask him — I don’t give a damn. And anyone who watches the show knows he’s gay — who cares? I just wanted to show who he was as a person. If he’s lying about who he really is as a person, then he’s going to lie in the game — so stick with me, as I’ll tell you how it is right to the end.
What did your family say after watching the episode?
Shannon: What sucks about it is that my poor wife tries to defend me. I just say "don’t" and tell her to let it go. There are going to be haters out there, and she knows that. My whole thing is that my wife didn’t play Survivor — none of my family did. I gave you all a bunch of crap to talk about at my expense, so bash me and leave them alone. My son is 11 1/2, my daughter is 9, so she probably doesn’t understand, and my baby daughter is 19 months. My son understands and knows who I am and that I don’t care about “that” stuff. I have friends from all over, and they know that that’s not who I am — it was just Shannon being crazy.
Have you spoken to any of your tribe mates? Are you friends?
Shannon: I have spoken to everyone — almost everyone, actually. I am not bitter at all. Chase and I talked many times, and it’s all good. It’s a game. I lose just as good as I win. I am a competitor, and I am going to lose — that’s how I look at it. If you can’t play well when you are defeated, you'd better stop playing.
How are things with you and Sash?
Shannon: I haven’t talked to him, to be honest, but I think he’ll be cool. He knows it's TV and what really went down that night. He knows I came at him to show he was lying, and if he was lying about who he really was, then he’s a liar all together, as he didn’t really deny it. I just wanted to show that he was lying to everyone the whole time, and no one knew who he really was.
Overall was it a good experience out there?
Shannon: Yeah, it was. I never got hungry! You think you will be starving, but your mind takes over. I never had hunger pains — even on a handful of rice a day. I dropped nearly 20 pounds in six days! That was the first time I’d ever camped or been outside past 3 a.m. After day two, I stunk, which was nasty. I hate being dirty, and that was the main thing I worried about. It was a neat experience, but I don’t know if I would do it again — and I'm not sure CBS would put my crazy ass out there again!