After last night’s Survivor Caramoan: Fans vs. Favorites Episode 5, "Persona Non Grata," most fans have been dissecting Brandon Hantz's epic meltdown.
Many viewers still question why Brandon was cast for the show when he had already shown erratic behavior on Survivor: South Pacific. He’s been called “unstable” and “crazy,” but he doesn’t agree. As he told Gordon Holmes of Xfinity, "Don’t feel bad for me. I’m happy. I enjoyed my edit. And no, I don’t need to go to a hospital. I am perfectly mentally stable."
So if you were holding out for regrets or even an apology … better grab a snack. That might be a long wait.
Dalton Ross and Jessica Shaw also talked to Brandon on their Entertainment Weekly podcast. It’s been about 10 months since Caramoan was taped, and Brandon isn’t upset with last night’s episode, other than wondering why more people aren’t calling out Phillip Sheppard for his own behavior. Brandon's wife is pregnant and they are expecting their third child, and overall things are going well for him. "I would say I'm doing dang good. I mean, it's great. Life is good. Life is fantastic.”
Did he watch the episode last night? "I thought it was amazing, and yes I did. And it was me, Russell [Hantz, who played Survivor three times], Dad, everybody got together and just watch as I unfolded, literally."
Dalton started talking about how this show kicks your ass physically but also emotionally and mentally. If you're not in a good place, mentally, it can be really difficult. Brandon jumped in to say, "Absolutely not. It was crazy because, dude, people expect me to just roll over and die but then whenever it happens they're like 'Oh my God, why'd you do that?' I mean, what other options did I have? I mean, really? What other options did I have? I had the option of going OK, I'll take the vote off. Nobody got to see the real things, the reality of reality TV, the reality of Survivor. ... All I have to say is 'You're welcome' to all the viewers out there. 'You're welcome.'"
There was no acting, he added, nothing being played up. "It was real stuff. The only person acting on that island was Phillip. I don't have a problem with Phillip [anymore]. ... I have respect for Phillip as a human being, a person outside of this game, but as a Survivor, I have zero respect for him. He has no personality of his own, everything is premeditated. ... Everything that you see from me is from my heart." Brandon said everyone out there has wanted to quit at one point or time or another, they just don't express it the way that he expressed it. He included back-to-back player Malcolm Freberg in that, too, "for as much as he talked smack about me last night."
Dalton added that people have been worried about Brandon, but Brandon thinks we should stop seeing him as in a bad place, mentally. "Right now I'm having the best time of my life ever. The edit has been beautiful. Most people would be like 'Wow, you looked crazy.' I love the edit compared to the way that I was edited on the last season. I actually have more fans now than I did then because it's human nature to like the bad qualities in a person. More people want to see the gladiator fight versus the watch everybody hold hands and hug."
How did Russell Hantz react? He was critical of his nephew back on South Pacific. “I’ve never seen my uncle so proud of me,” Brandon said. It started rough, Brandon admitted, when he had his moment of weakness in wanting to quit. But he’s proud of the restraint that he showed. He was taken advantage of so bad, he said, we have to respect how he acted. He’s happy with how things turned out. He just showed people how to deal with a bully (Phillip). He just wishes people were talking more about what Phillip could’ve done to calm things down. And since people keep asking about his mental health: "As far as being mentally sound, I don't take medication."
And, yes, he’d go back if Survivor wanted him to return. But let's hope they never ask him.
Sources: Entertainment Weekly, Xfinity