'Survivor' quitter Osten Taylor says he will "make a million somewhere else"
By Wade Paulsen, 11/03/2003
The Boston Herald reports that Survivor: Pearl Island castaway Osten Taylor from Somerville, Massachusetts, who earned himself a place in Survivor infamy by becoming the first castaway to ever quit the game, hasn't lost any of his self-assurance in the face of heavy criticism.
Osten claimed that the editing of the CBS show did not show that he had six staph infections on his chest and legs that left scars which still haven't healed. He also notes that he had lost 40 pounds, from 205 pounds to 165 pounds, in 19 days -- a weight loss so significant that some spoilers believed that he went a long way in the show -- perhaps even to the final three.
Osten also took issue with the way his exit was portrayed by Survivor executive producer Mark Burnett and show host Jeff Probst. When Osten quit, Jeff laid his torch down, keeping it separate from the torches of the other fallen (that is, "voted off") survivors. The show also omitted Osten's final words, which Mark Burnett said were simply more self-justification for his decision to quit. As Burnett put it, "Here's this big, huge guy who could kill me outside the game . . . and yet he cried about (the game) all the time.''
Osten, who works in financial securities for a Boston firm, wasn't worried about giving up the million dollar first prize that goes to the "ultimate survivor." Said Osten, "I knew I wouldn't win the $1 million here, but I will make a million somewhere else in my life," He may be right -- but all of America now knows that it won't be in "Toughman" competitions.
For his part, Osten termed the decision to omit his final words "a juvenile response" and called the ghost-tribe twist, which gave him the opportunity to quit, "garbage" that "messed with the entire integrity of the show." We find it interesting that Osten now styles himself to be a guardian of the integrity of Survivor after spending most of his 19 days weakening it. He summed up his efforts by saying, "I tried to represent Boston, but I came up short. It was a tough situation.''
We would like to be sympathetic to Osten's plight and illnesses, except that we note that he started whining and begging his tribe to be cut loose in the second episode -- far too early for even his claimed staph infection to be any more than a minor inconvenience. We still remember Rodger Bingham from Survivor: The Australian Outbacksaying "I am the oldest person out here and have been going for 36 days, and [I] would have gone the remaining 6 without food if I had to." Somehow we think that epitomizes the spirit of Survivor better than Osten's fine whine.