Australian Survivor has repeatedly copped a lot of – very, very valid – criticism over its casting in recent seasons, with the current Champions vs Contenders season in particular drawing bulk heat for its fairly beige cast. But while the production itself has remained tight-lipped on the issue, series host Jonathan LaPaglia apparently isn’t too afraid of biting whatever hand is feeding him, teeing off on the show’s lack of diversity in a spicy recent interview.
JLP spoke to the ABC Radio National’s Stop Everything! program and made it very clear he wasn’t a big fan of the overall whiteness of the show’s casting.
In a rather forthright spiel, LaPaglia made it clear he has something of an arm’s length relationship with the show’s producers, and has no hand in its casting, mentioning that the series is “incredibly white,” and that that wasn’t “how I see Australia.”
“We could beat around the bush, but it is incredibly white, right? I mean it is, and that’s not how I see the world, that’s not how I see Australia.”
“Australia is a melting pot of cultures and I think Survivor is the perfect platform to reflect that, right? But for some reason when it’s cast, it doesn’t end up that way.”
LaPaglia also said that he’s repeatedly questioned producers over their casting choices, but has never been able to get a straight answer out of them, which… hoo boy, is that ever Not Good™.
“Unfortunately, I’m not part of the casting process. I’ve never really got a satisfactory answer on it [the diversity question]. Basically I’m told that there aren’t that many people from minority cultures that apply, and whether that’s true or not, I don’t know, but that’s kind of what I’m told.”
“The producers probably want to stab me right now but… to disagree would be disingenuous right? I mean, it’s hard to deny the obvious, it does feel very whitewashed, yes.”
Bloody… cop THAT.
The current series of Australian Survivor featured just two non-white contestants – marketing manager Laura Choong and former Olympian and Senator Nova Peris – both of whom were eliminated from proceedings early.