‘Survivor’ Contestant Janet Koth Denies Smuggling the Granola Bar That Got Her Voted Out

Survivor hasn’t aired for twenty years without ruffling a few feathers along the way. The CBS series puts contestants on an island and forces them to outwit, outplay, and outlast the competition. Along the way, however, anything can happen. Janet Koth learned this on Survivor: Amazon, where she learned how dangerous it could be to be falsely accused of something on the island.

'Survivor' tribal council with contestants to the left, a fire pit in the middle, and Jeff Probst to the right
Survivor | CBS via Getty Images

Who is Janet Koth, and what season was she on?

According to her Survivor Fandom page, Koth appeared on the series during season six, Survivor: The Amazon. This season saw the castaways fighting for a million dollars in the Amazon rainforest. It was notable for many reasons. For one, it was the first season to be split down the middle by gender. The latter parts of the season featured a particularly memorable immunity challenge when eventual winner Jenna Morasca convinced a tribemate to join her and strip naked for some chocolate and peanut butter.

Koth didn’t make it that far. A homemaker at the time, Koth hoped to use her down-home charm to get ahead. However, after her tribemates found a granola wrapper in a barrel at the camp, a contestant named Jeanne accused Koth of smuggling it in herself. She denied the claim. It was already too late. Nearly 20 years later, Koth remains heartbroken about the way that her stint on the show ended. She opened up to Entertainment Weekly about the entire ordeal and how it has shaped her going forward. 

Janet Koth speaks out

While Koth will never claim to have played a perfect game, she believes that her season’s editing painted her as a different type of player than she was. It’s not the first time someone has claimed this, but few have had the type of drama Koth experienced on Survivor. She spoke about the drama with Entertainment Weekly.

“The edit I got on the show makes my blood boil,” Koth told the publication. “I almost declined going to the finale after seeing how I was portrayed. Even some of my family members thought I snuck in the granola bar after seeing how they took a scene of one day and edited it to another day, making me look guilty.”

However, while Koth believes that editing made her look like a villain, she doesn’t absolve herself of her role in her eventual demise. That, more than anything else, made her regret her time out on the island. After all, whether editing played a role for the home viewer or not, she wasn’t the one who went home with the ultimate prize. 

Does she regret going on?

“My biggest regret would have to be that I didn’t fight harder against the untrue allegations of having brought in a granola bar,” Koth told Entertainment Weekly. “I think I was just too weak at that point from dehydration. I learned that when I am really dehydrated and sleep-deprived, my normally gregarious personality takes a huge hit!”

While Koth believes that it is natural to regret being on the island in the heat of the elements, the hunger, and the grueling competitions, she wouldn’t change her mind about appearing. Despite everything, she considers it a positive experience. “Did I ever regret going on? NO. I hated how I was portrayed, but it was such an unusual experience, and I have always been adventurous!” she told the publication.

Whether editing, a shady move, or something in between, Koth got people talking with the type of buzz that keeps a show like Survivor on the air for twenty years. It’s the type of drama that the medium is made for. The granola incident remains one of the series’ most iconic moments to this day. However, if you ask Koth about it, it’s a testament to how unreal reality television can genuinely be. 

Survivor remains a massive draw. Recently, host and executive producer Jeff Probst announced season 41, which was delayed by the pandemic, will start filming in April for a fall release. Still, despite 35 seasons between Koth and the current crop, moments like hers remain why the series has lasted with so many changing tides.