‘Survivor’: Contestants Once Stole Production’s Food and Sparked a Conspiracy Theory

Trying to survive on Survivor seems to involve a little cheating on very rare occasions, even if contestants are usually caught doing it.

As everyone knows who watch Survivor regularly, the contestants on the islands have to forage for their own food to keep themselves…well, alive.

Yes, limited supplies of food (like rice and beans) are given to keep participants from literally dying in the wild. Winning challenges also comes with food bonuses.

What happens when someone tries to steal food, though? It did happen one time, even if never mentioned on the show. The result was seemingly major payback, even if some still argue whether the incident truly contributed toward the contestants being voted off.

Is going without food too tough for ‘Survivor’ contestants?

Ben Driebergen on 'Survivor' | CBS via Getty Images
Ben Driebergen on ‘Survivor’ | CBS via Getty Images

One might argue Survivor takes things a little too extreme at times in forcing the participants to survive with the bare minimum. There was one horrible incident on Survivor: Kaoh Rong where a contestant almost died, according to Reality Blurred, due to heat exhaustion, giving fans pause on just how far the show had to go to give contestants challenges.

Such a thing could still easily happen if some contestants never find enough food. While one can easily stay alive with beans and rice, it still deprives the body of necessary nutrients to keep going at full level.

It appears a past group of contestants thought they could game the system to overstep this challenge. During Survivor: Micronesia way back in 2008, three contestants plotted a break-in to production camp where decent food was stored.

How they plotted this was never known. Yet, the strategy behind it was near understandable considering how miserable things sometimes become without proper food items.

Who were the contestants that stole the food?

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It was apparently a three-way partnership, per Ranker, among Alexis Smith, Erik Reichenbach, and James Clement.

According to another contestant named Kathy Slackman, she was told by James Clement they collectively plotted to steal food and drink from the production compound. Slackman revealed this on Reddit not long after.

Back then, cameras were not quite as prevalent as they are now, so they apparently were never caught in the act. Regardless, producers apparently did find out they were responsible, leading to the three being chastised behind-the-scenes.

The show kept the news about it undercover, though, if some conspiracy theorists thinking Survivor took action in bumping off Smith, Reichenbach, and Clement.

Those who remember that season may recall those three were voted off in respective order, perhaps payback for their food stealing plot. Is there any truth to this, or mere circumstance?

Does ‘Survivor’ give payback to contestants breaking rules?

In today’s times, it seems all participants adhere to the rules. Because cameras can be placed anywhere and hardly be noticed, anyone trying to steal food would likely be caught in real-time.

During Survivor: Micronesia, the show’s producers might have wanted to keep the incident under wraps to prevent scandal and perhaps ratings. With the story still getting out, though, inevitable conspiracy theories popped up on the three being voted off the island not long after.

According to Erik Reichenbach, however, things were not quite what they seemed. As much as it appeared producers wanted the three gone, there were apparently other reasons behind their departures.

When someone started a Reddit thread several years ago about the matter in insinuating Reichenbach was disqualified, latter piped in with his own response.

Said Reichenbach: “LOLOLOLOL really???” Apparently the show never did have disqualification in mind for the above three. With Alexis being idoled and Eric giving up immunity, they somewhat redeemed themselves.

It still opens a lot of questions on whether plots to steal food continue, with perhaps every possibility squelched due to 24/7 eyes watching.