This week on Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites, Brandon Hantz had the most famous meltdown in Survivor history after clashing with Phillip Sheppard.
Although Brandon Hantz, nephew of Survivor villain Russell Hantz, wanted to leave Survivor: Caramoan early to be with his kids, Brandon ensured his exit from the game when he clashed with federal agent Phillip Sheppard and later exploded in a fit of rage. Brandon’s emotional outburst against Phillip was so explosive that the Survivor favorites forfeited immunity and Tribal Council in favor of unanimously voting Brandon out of the game.
Brandon’s outburst took everyone by surprise, including viewers, players, and host Jeff Probst who skillfully controlled the situation by calming Brandon down.
The day after one of the most explosive episodes in Survivor history, The Deadbolt caught up with Brandon Hantz to get his side of the story, what happened with Phillip, the impact of Survivor on his life, and what uncle Russell thought of his time on Survivor: Caramoan.
THE DEADBOLT: Now that the show has aired, what do you want people to know about what happened?
BRANDON HANTZ: I liked it. Obviously Phillip was annoying. He did stuff that was over the top, not necessary, but I think people already kind of understand that. I don’t think they need clarification on how annoying he was.
He got aggressive first. I mean really, he did, and that’s no excuse for what I did. But, dude, it’s clear as crystal: he said straight-up, he’s a street-fighter. I wasn’t even thinking about getting physical. It wasn’t even a question. He thought about it before I did.
I don’t know if he was pretty prepared to do what he said he was going to do if I ever got aggressive with him. It kind of backfired on him a little bit.
THE DEADBOLT: The anger that you felt toward Phillip, how much of that was connected to your first experience on Survivor?
BRANDON: About 90 percent of it really. He really got what I wanted to do to Coach as far as my aggression. It was really a lot of bitterness toward [my] last season, because it was sad for me. It was hard but I grew up, man. It’s just like you’ve got to take the good with the bad.
My second Survivor experience all around, my edit was amazing. It was amazing. It was all accurate the first and second time, but I let so much get to me my first time. And it’s so not that big of a deal. People are going to like you or dislike you whether you play Survivor or not. It’s just on a bigger scope, so I had to grow up a little bit.
The personal impact of Survivor
It’s been so amazing with me and my wife. I’ll tell you right now, we enjoy this. She said, “Baby, if you ever get the chance to go play again, you better bring home a million dollars.” That’s her attitude. This to me wasn’t worth it in the beginning. But now that everything happened, even our separation, it actually got us closer together, man. I can honestly thank Survivor for doing that.
It caused a lot of drama. It caused a lot of changes in me to occur. It all went to my head the first season. It all went to my head and I allowed it to get into my marriage. If I hadn’t ended up separated from my wife, I wouldn’t have realized how much I love her now. So, I’m picking the good, every bit of good, man. Both of us just really appreciate the whole experience, appreciate the finances. There are so many positive things that have come from it that it’s amazing. We really appreciate it for sure.
Phillip and the future
As far as Phillip is concerned, anything I say is going to be Survivor related. Nothing is going to be personal. There’s no vendetta. There’s no bitterness towards Phillip. It’s been a year and my mindset has changed. I’m always growing and I’m always developing and downloading different material. We’re not children, it’s a game. Everything for me, for Brandon, is going to stay a game. It’s going to stay a game from here on out.
Uncle Russell and another shot at Survivor?
If I had an opportunity, I want an opportunity to compete against my uncle Russell [Hantz]. That’s what I want. I truly, truly [want that]. I’ve spoken to him and he is proud finally of the way I played the game. He’s never been more proud, he said.
We’ll be on live today on the after-show with Parvati and I requested that Russell sit next to me and interview with me. So, it’s going to be exciting.
We’re good friends now and we realize that we’re a lot more alike than we thought. He cried, I cried. He got angry sometimes and I got angry sometimes. We’re like each other in a lot of ways. There’s a love and respect there but we’re both very competitive and there will be no holds barred. If I get a chance to play again, my stipulation is that I get to compete against my uncle.
How do you feel about Brandon this season on Survivor: Caramoan? Do you want to see Brandon and Russell compete against each other?