Exclusive: 'Survivor: Kaoh Rong' castoff Kyle Jason talks (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/06/2016
Survivor: Kaoh Rong -- Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty's merged Dara tribe voted Kyle Jason out during Wednesday night's broadcast on CBS.
Jason, a 31-year-old bounty hunter from Detroit, MI, was voted out of his tribe on Night 32 at the game's eleventh Tribal Council session basically because he was on the outside of a five-person alliance and failed to win Individual Immunity. He therefore became the sixth member of Season 32's jury.
Jason's game went down the tubes once Tai Trang flipped on his former Brawn alliance, ultimately kicking the bounty hunter's closest ally, Scot Pollard, to the curb.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Jason talked about his Survivor experience. Below is the first half. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: We saw Tai telling you to vote for Michele Fitzgerald at camp. Did anyone else have a conversation with you after that, before you headed to Tribal? What did you think was going to happen?
Kyle Jason: Tai was the only person who talked to me about three days after Day 29 at Tribal Council. They iced me out after that night, and nobody really said anything to me at all. Tai talked to me about voting Michele out. There were a couple comments about it that I didn't agree with, so I really didn't think that was going to happen.
And then by staring at everybody and trying to figure out what's going on, seeing how close [Cydney Gillon] was with Michele and how Cydney was with [Aubry Bracco], I couldn't see any of them budging.
So I didn't really see any numbers forming or siding with Tai, so I made a decision to just vote on my own and send it where I thought it had to be. I didn't think Tai had the numbers, so why do what someone else told me? I'll stay true to myself.
Reality TV World: Okay, yeah, because I was wondering if that was just a stubborn move on your part, like you refused to listen to Tai. (Laughs)
Kyle Jason: No, well, it was just that I didn't believe he had [the vote], so why follow him and give myself hope that didn't exist? I sent the vote where it really was deserved, to [Joseph "Joe" Del Campo].
Reality TV World: Putting your own bias aside since you got voted out, do you think Aubry's alliance made the right choice in taking you out now instead of Michele or do you think that was a mistake strategically?
Kyle Jason: I think it would've been smarter to keep me being only for the fact of what they kept saying. They kept saying, "He can't get the votes! He can't get the votes!" Do I agree I can't get the votes? No! Not at all. I think I could pull a lot of the jury. But if they're so focused on, "He's the bad guy and no one is going to vote for him to get the money," why not keep me around then?
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What has Michele done? Like Aubry said -- she put it very nicely in the episode -- she has no blood on her hands. So why not get rid of someone like that rather than someone you believe has made everybody angry?
Reality TV World: A couple castaways I've talked to said they thought the jury was going to be really bitter this season because there were many emotional players. But since you think you would've received votes, it sounds like you disagree with that?
Kyle Jason: Yeah, I don't think the jury is as bitter as people are saying. I think a lot of them really respect the gameplay that has been going on. They're very intense when they're watching what's going on at Tribal, and I think that shows a lot. They are very curious about how everything is playing out, who's doing what, and who's really earning the money at the end of the day.
Reality TV World: You admitted during the game you were really angry with Tai but didn't want to show it because that would be bad for your game. Do you still harbor any hard feelings? I'm sure it's hard not to be resentful when his flip was the reason your alliance crumbled.
Kyle Jason: Outside the game, I hold no hard feelings toward anybody -- not a single cast member whatsoever, and I'm talking about all 17. In the game, it's business. You get frustrated, you get mad when things don't go your way or you're watching your life in the game crumble in front of you. Yes, you're angry, you're upset, and at times, you have to check those emotions aside.
Outside the game, I know the difference between real life and what we did on the show to earn money. It's a game to earn money. You're going to do certain things so you can get the best advantage. I get that.
I completely respect the move that everyone made, and outside the game, it's 100% different. You see that a lot of us all hang out with each other, we're still close. It shows that we were able to put the game aside.
Reality TV World: In your final words, you said you were proud of the way you played the game and believed your family would be proud of you as well. Did you have any idea while you were in the game that the public would perceive you and Scot as bullies? Debbie Wanner even called you guys "bullies beyond anything Survivor has ever seen." Were you disappointed to find out that people viewed you in that light? Do you think you were a bully out there?
Kyle Jason: You got to take what Debbie says with a grain of salt when it comes to the words she's using. I think the word "bully" is the most over-used word this season. I am not a bully. I don't think I acted like a bully. I played a hard aggressive game. I'm a guy that looks like the way I do and I didn't get along with the prim and proper little blonde. What else are people going to call that?
I never kept it secret that I'm a very brash person. I say it like I see it. I don't sugarcoat anything, you know? And when a person acts like that, they get labeled. And America labeled me as a bully. If that makes them feel better, so be it! If you want to call me a bully, call me it all you want.
I know what I am, I know the game I played, and I did very well. And it took me very far. For as much hate as I get for being a so-called "bully," I get a ton of love. I mean, you look at Twitter and Instagram, and I get as much love as I do hate. So, I obviously did something right!... I have no regrets.
Reality TV World: Tai is a huge threat to everyone in the game because he's so likeable and everyone worried he'd get most of the votes if he made it to the end. Without revealing anything, if Tai did end up in the Final 3 or whatever, was there a chance in hell you'd vote for him to win? And did you assume Scot and Julia Sokolowski would be on the same page as you?
Kyle Jason: When it comes to Scot, Julia and I, I think we see how much Tai flipped. So that means weighing whether or not we think all of his flips were smart moves or not. I mean, obviously some things would have to be smart enough if you were able to get all the way to the end.
I mean, his flip took him further than me, so I can only put him down for so much. Obviously his game was better than mine because he's still in it and I'm not. So, I think it comes down to just how impressive of a game that was to each person that's voting if that time comes.
Reality TV World: A risky move you made was when you handed your idol to Tai at the Tribal when Debbie went home because he could've flipped on you and kept it -- luckily he didn't. And then you handed your idol to Scot who got voted out with it. Is it safe to say if you were to play Survivor again you'd hold onto any idol you found with dear life?
Kyle Jason: Well, it was risky not handing it to Tai because he had already flipped on me once right before that. He tried to make a play against me. But you have to have some form of trust in this game to get anywhere. If you trust nobody the entire time, you're not going to make it through Day 1.
Now, in hindsight, does it suck that I gave my idol to Scot and let him walk out with it? Of course. It could've been one of my biggest mistakes in the game looking at it now. I did it for a reason that I stand by during the game. It just turned out to be the wrong reason, and I can be the first one to say that.
Now, what makes me feel better about it is I would've played it the very next Tribal Council, and it turns out I would've wasted it because Julia went home. So, that's what makes me feel a little better about it.
It still sucks watching your idol go out the door, and if I was to play again -- or asked to play again -- and I come to that same situation, I would like to think I'm going to keep that idol in my pocket. But as we know, I like to do crazy things, so who knows!
Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Jason's exclusive Survivor interview.