Jeff Probst says Tyler Perry should not be blamed for no swimsuits

  • “Survivor” players have not worn swimsuits since 2018, and some fans and players blame Tyler Perry.
  • Perry said he had “no idea” where the rumor claiming it was his fault came from.
  • Players have not been seen in swimsuits since early 2018 and it is unclear why.

Tyler Perry is a big fan of “Survivor” and has even once contributed a “special idol” twist to the show. But he said it is not his fault that players have not been given swimsuits since 2018.

For years, many fans on Reddit – and some former players – have believed that Perry is to blame for the show’s decision to remove swimwear from the gameplay, but the actor and director denied the allegations to Insider.

Although he’s not sure how the rumor started, Perry thinks it can be dated back to an SMS exchange he had with “Survivor” host and executive producer Jeff Probst.

“I do not know what season it was – I do not remember – but there was a season where there were brand new swimsuits in the middle of the season,” he told Insider. “I texted Jeff saying, ‘Hey, that looks weird. If you survive, where do these brand new swimsuits come from?'”

"Survivor" playing in bikini in water during a challenge next to a picture of another player in clothes in a water challenge

A “Survivor” player in 2014 with a swimsuit for a water challenge and a participant in 2021 who completes a water challenge in clothing.

Robert Voets / CBS via Getty Images; Robert Voets / CBS via Getty Images

According to Perry, Probst explained the new swimsuits by saying that players “lost weight” so they had to get different. So Perry proposed a new system that would make swimsuits look old while caring for players.

He said his proposal was to buy each player the same swimsuit in four different sizes – and go down as players

Lose Weight
– and then age them “so they do not look so sharp 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 fit better and they haven’t been used yet – they just look worn and tattered.”

If the production bought the same swimsuit in different sizes and aged it, just like what happens in movies, he said, “we are all the wiser as the audience.”

Perry also told Insider he “never said” he wanted players stuck in “dirty underwear”.

“It’s just awful to have people on the show in clothes that do not fit and barely hold – it does not 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

Jeff Probst is the host "Survivor."

Jeff Probst hosts “Survivor”.

Robert Voets / CBS Entertainment

For several seasons, “Survivor” contestants wore swimsuits they could wear as an alternative outfit. But the last time players were shown in swimwear was season 36, “Ghost Island”, which aired from February to May 2018.

The same month as the finale, Probst told The Hollywood Reporter that Perry suggested “dirtier” swimwear be included in the show.

“Next season, we’ll not give them swimsuits at all, just a sewing kit,” Probst joked about “Survivor” contestants in the interview.

Shortly after, posters on Reddit began blaming Perry for the lack of swimwear. Even season-37 “David vs. Goliath” rival Davie Rickenbacker – who confirmed that his 2018 season did not receive swimsuits a few months after Probst’s comment – previously told Insider that he blames Perry’s alleged influence.

However, Probst defended Perry in a statement to Insider, saying the actor “would never suggest an idea that would be harmful to any player, ever.”

“We love receiving constructive feedback from past players. Survivor is always evolving, and insights from someone who has actually had the experience can be very helpful. There are often ideas that at one point seemed important and now need to be updated,” said Probst.

“As for the swimsuit issue, I have to clear up the comments to Tyler Perry first. Tyler is one of the most compassionate people 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 problem that has been raised and we will definitely address it when we return to production. I am convinced that we can find a suitable solution that will solve all the problems.”

The show has never stated why swimwear was removed from the gameplay, though Insider has spent months reporting on the lack of swimwear and how wearing the same clothing for 39 days in a row can pose serious health risks.

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