‘Survivor 39’ Jason Linden Discussed Stephen Fishbach Resemblance, Playing a Fake Idol, and More Unseen Moments

On Survivor 39: Island of the Idols, the contestants had a tribe switch, which left Jason Linden on Vokai in an even split with the old Lairo members. He and his allies, consisting of Dan Spilo, Lauren Beck, and Tommy Sheehan, were so loyal to each other they were willing to go to rocks.

On the other hand, old Lairo was extremely divided, and Missy Byrd and Aaron Meredith almost immediately made it clear they would flip. The majority seemingly decided on voting Elaine Stott off the island, but she earned a block-a-vote advantage from the Island of the Idols.

Stott prevented Linden from voting, and ultimately he was sent packing. The personal injury lawyer talked to Rob Cesterino from Rob Has A Podcast about his resemblance to Stephen Fishbach playing a role in his elimination and other moments not shown on television.

Survivor 39 Jason Linden
Jason Linden | Robert Voets

‘Survivor 39’ Jason Linden explained why they voted Elaine Stott

According to Linden, the decision to place the four Vokai votes on Stott was more complicated than the episode showed. He said that while the plan did start and end with the factory worker as the target, but there were intense conversations about eliminating Missy Byrd or Aaron Meredith instead.

Linden claimed that when they went to Tribal Council, they were all going to vote Meredith because Lauren Beck wanted to keep Byrd. Additionally, the group was hesitant to eliminate Stott because Byrd and Meredith were pushing so hard to get rid of her, and they didn’t understand why.


However, once Stott read her block-a-vote advantage at Tribal Council, it changed the target from Meredith back to Stott in hopes that Byrd or Meredith would flip.

Jason Linden explained how his resemblance to Stephen Fishbach got him eliminated

Because host Jeff Probst didn’t mention Linden much, the original Lairo tribe didn’t know his name before the swap. Therefore, they called him Fishbach, in reference to the resemblance between the personal injury lawyer and Stephen Fishbach, the strong strategic two-time Survivor player.

Even though it should be a compliment, the similarity painted him as a target. Additionally, he was extremely loyal to his other three original Vokai members and didn’t talk much to the old Lairo group.

Jason Linden explained his connection to Noura Salman and playing a fake idol

On the first day, Linden and Noura Salman forged a bond “out of necessity.” They both were on the bottom and wanted someone to talk to, so they confided in each other.

According to Linden, he and his new ally stayed up all night and discussed how they could eliminate Molly Byman. Around Day 3 or 4, Linden realized he dated Salman’s cousin in college, and they became better allies after that.

However, once Byman was voted off the island, Linden said the two parted ways and weren’t as close anymore. During Episode 4, Salman volunteered to go to the Island of the Idols.

Boston Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine gave her the difficult task of convincing her tribe to allow her to serve as the caller role for the next challenge, but she failed.

According to Linden, in a moment not shown in the episode, Salman came back to camp with a fake idol, and Dan Spilo found it. Even though Salman admitted it was fake, Linden claimed he played it at the Tribal Council.

He recalled handing it to Probst, and the host responded with something like, “This isn’t an idol. Sit down, kid.”

Jason Linden explained why they immediately targeted Molly Byman

Before the switch, Linden said that the tribe saw Byman gaining a lot of power because she was close with Jamal Shipman, Jack Nichting, and Tommy Sheehan.

According to Linden, he also had a close alliance with Byman that the Survivor cameras didn’t show. Therefore, Kellee Kim, Janet Carbin, Beck, and Spilo believed Byman had the guys in her pocket and blindsided her off the island. Watch Survivor Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.