Tyler Perry says he suggested ‘Survivor’ make swimsuits ‘look worn and tattered’ but
- “Survivor” players haven’t had swimsuits since 2018, and some fans and players blame Tyler Perry.
- Perry said he has “no idea” where the rumor claiming it’s his fault came from.
- Players haven’t been seen in swimsuits since early 2018, and it’s unclear why.
Tyler Perry is a huge fan of “Survivor” and even once contributed a “special idol” twist to the show. But he said it’s not his fault that players haven’t gotten swimsuits since 2018.
For years, many fans on Reddit — and some former players — have held the belief that Perry is to blame for the show’s decision to remove swimwear from gameplay, but the actor and director denied the accusations to Insider.
While he’s not certain how the rumor started, Perry thinks it might date back to a text-message exchange he had with “Survivor” host and executive producer Jeff Probst.
“I don’t know what season it was — I can’t remember — but there was one season where there were brand-new swimsuits in the middle of the season,” he told Insider. “I sent Jeff a text saying, ‘Hey, this looks odd. If you’re surviving where are these brand-new swimsuits coming from?'”
According to Perry, Probst explained the new-looking swimsuits by saying players were “losing weight” so they had to get different ones. So, Perry proposed a new system that would make swimsuits appear aged while also fitting players.
He said his suggestion was to buy each player the same swimsuit in four different sizes — going down as players
— and then age them “so that they don’t look so stark and brand new in the middle of the season.”
Perry continued, “So, that way, it looks like they’re wearing the same clothes but they’re fitted better and they haven’t been worn yet — they just look worn and tattered.”
If production bought the same swimsuit in different sizes and aged it, sort of like what happens in film, he said, “we’re none the wiser as an audience.”
Perry also told Insider that he “never said” he wanted players to be stuck wearing “filthy underwear.”
“It’s just horrible to have people on the show in clothes that aren’t fitting and barely holding on — that doesn’t work either,” he added.
The rumor seems to trace back to an interview with Probst from 2018, but the host clarified the comments to Insider
For multiple seasons, “Survivor” contestants had swimsuits they could wear as an alternate outfit. But the last time players were shown in swimwear was season 36, “Ghost Island,” which aired from February to May 2018.
That same month as the finale, Probst told The Hollywood Reporter that Perry suggested that “filthier” swimwear make it onto the show.
“Next season we aren’t giving them swimming suits at all, just a sewing kit,” Probst joked about “Survivor” contestants in the interview.
Shortly after, posters on Reddit began to blame Perry for the lack of swimwear. Even season-37 “David vs. Goliath” competitor Davie Rickenbacker — who confirmed his 2018 season didn’t receive swimsuits a few months after Probst’s comment — previously told Insider he blames Perry’s supposed influence.
However, Probst defended Perry in a statement to Insider, saying the actor “would never suggest an idea that would be detrimental to any player, ever.”
“We love receiving constructive feedback from former players. Survivor is always evolving and insight from someone who has actually lived the experience can be very helpful. There are often ideas that at one time seemed important and now need to be updated,” Probst said.
“Regarding the issue of swimsuits, I first need to clear up the comments attributed to Tyler Perry. Tyler is one of the most compassionate humans I know and his swimsuit idea had nothing to do with the players or whether they should receive swimsuits or anything like that. It was directly related to storytelling,” he continued.
Probst concluded: “I understand the issue that has been brought up and we will absolutely address it when we return to production. I’m confident we can find a suitable solution that will resolve all the issues.”
The show has never stated why swimsuits were removed from gameplay, though Insider has spent months reporting on the lack of swimwear and how wearing the same clothes for 39 days straight can come with serious health risks.