Are ‘Survivor 39’ Contestants Banned From Telling Other Competitors About the Island of the Idols?

Elizabeth, Kellee, and Vince have been to the Island of the Idols and received a Survivor lesson from former champions Boston Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine.

They’ve all lied about what happened when they returned to their tribe, and viewers don’t understand why. Are the competitors banned from exposing the twist to their tribemates?

Survivor 39 contestant Elizabeth Beisel
Elizabeth Beisel | Robert Voets

Which ‘Survivor 39’ contestants have been to the Island of the Idols so far?

Elizabeth from the Lairo tribe was the first to experience the Island of the Idols after they lost their first immunity challenge. There, she met Boston Rob and Sandra, who gave her a lesson in fire-making.

If Elizabeth could make a fire faster than Rob, then she would earn an immunity idol. However, if she failed, then she would lose her vote at the Tribal Council.

The Olympic swimmer attempted the challenge but couldn’t beat the master. Next, Vokai’s Kellee was sent to the Island of the Idols via a delivered note where she also met the Survivor champions.

For her lesson, they taught her how to properly listen when others are speaking to her to build a social game. Therefore, Sandra talked and talked about her life and family, and Kellee had to answer three questions correctly to earn an idol good for the next three Tribal Councils.

Even though she was initially nervous because she didn’t think she was actively listening, the MBA student passed the test. Finally, Lairo tribe mate Vince went to the Island of the Idols, where he learned how to do bear crawls, hide behind trees, and be stealthy to steal fire from the other tribe.

Even though the Vokai did not have their fire going at the time, he took coals to prove he got close enough to complete the task. The proof was enough for Rob and Sandra as they awarded him the immunity idol.

‘Survivor 39’ contestants lie about the Island of the Idols twist

When Elizabeth returned to camp, she lied and told everyone it was similar to Ghost Islands, where she had to smash urns to get an advantage or disadvantage.

Kellee also lied to her tribemates about what happened at the Island of Idols and began crying and unloading her bag to prove she didn’t have the idol, all while it was hiding in her hair.

The show did not air Vince’s return to camp, but he discussed it in an interview with Rob Cesternino. After spending 24 hours away from everyone, Vince returned and said Elizabeth greeted him immediately and tried to talk, but he wanted to wait.

Vince explained he told everyone he had a challenge where he had to memorize five sets of tiles with different animals on them, and then find them after they were scattered across the Island.

Because he couldn’t complete the mission, he said he had to sleep outside all night with no shelter.

Are ‘Survivor 39’ contestants banned from speaking about the Island of the Idols?

After three people have now lied about the Island of the Idols twist, it confuses some viewers as they don’t understand why the contestants aren’t honest about it.

One reason could be a contestant might be afraid they will have a target on their back if they admit they just had a specialized lesson from Survivor royalty, Sandra and Rob.

Another reason is the competitor doesn’t want to share that they have an immunity idol. However, why would Elizabeth lie when she lost the challenge, and why wouldn’t Vince expose Elizabeth for lying and possibly pin the idol on her?

In Vince’s interview, Cesternino asked if he could have told everyone about the Island of the Idols if he wanted to. Vince replied, saying he’s “being put in a hard place” because he doesn’t know if he can answer that.

While it’s unclear if they’re actually banned from speaking about the Island of the Idols, the competitors seem to be “encouraged” to make something up, possibly for another twist down the line or just good television.