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Survivor: China – Denise Finally Answers the $50,000 Questionby David Bloomberg -- 12/19/2007
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As previously discussed, Denise – the fourth-place finisher on Survivor: China, told a story on the live reunion that she had been demoted when she came back from China, and was forced to take a job as a night janitor. This meant she didn’t get to see her family, didn’t get to see the kids in the lunchroom, etc. The story was so sad that Survivor creator Mark Burnett spontaneously decided to give her $50,000 to help her transition back to her regular life.
Unfortunately, though, the story wasn’t quite true. On Monday, the school district that employs Denise issued a press release containing quite different facts. Then on Tuesday morning, both Denise and the school superintendent appeared on The Early Show to discuss the situation.
On The Early Show, we found out quite a bit, including that Denise did not dispute anything the superintendent said. She asked for the promotion to night janitor (raising her salary from about $7 per hour to about $17 per hour) before she left for Survivor. Then she decided she wanted to spend more time with her family, so she wanted her old job back.
Of course, that’s not what she said, and that’s not what spurred Mark Burnett to give her $50,000. But when Early Show host Julie Chen asked her – twice – if she was going to give the money back, Denise completely avoided answering the question. And she did not participate in the schedule of post-finale interviews usually done by the final four contestants.
Now that final question has been answered. In a press release provided by CBS to RealityNewsOnline, there is now a “Statement from Survivor: China Castaway Denise Martin.” The statement says:
I would like to apologize to Mark Burnett, Jeff Probst, CBS, Nancy Lane, the Town of Douglas and my friends and family. It was not my intention to mislead anyone. I take full responsibility for my actions and hope that you can find it in your hearts to forgive me. I do not feel comfortable about accepting the $50,000. I would instead ask that it be donated to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Please accept my apology. I would also like to thank all the people who have supported me through this experience.It’s good to know that Denise will not still be accepting the money. The suggestion of donating it to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a great one, though I have to admit I doubt she was the one who came up with the idea (given that the charity is a Mark Burnett/Survivor favorite).
But I still have a problem with the whole concept of her saying it was not her “intention to mislead anyone.” What, exactly, did she think she was doing when telling the story? I would love to hear a further explanation, but I don’t think we will ever get one. Indeed, it’s likely this will be the last we ever hear from Denise, and she will go back to her regular life, unbothered by TV cameras and reporters asking questions. I expect she would very much prefer that to the hoopla that has been going on recently.
I can’t say I would blame her if that’s what she wants. I just wish we had a better explanation before she goes. At least we know she is not accepting the money. I only hope this serves as a lesson to her to watch what she says.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: China articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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