‘Survivor’ Season 43 Fans Call Elie ‘Condescending’ After Patting Owen’s Head

An obvious villain has yet to emerge in Survivor Season 43, but some believe that Elie Scott has the makings of one. She isn’t afraid to vote out her allies. She doesn’t hesitate to look through her tribemates’ bags. And Elie rubbed some fans the wrong way after patting Owen Knight’s head. But the last one doesn’t make Elie a typical villain in the show because it has nothing to do with the game.

Elie Scott, who stars in 'Survivor' Season 43 on CBS, wears a floral shirt.
Elie Scott | Photo: Robert Voets/CBS

Elie pat Owen’s head in ‘Survivor’ Season 43 Episode 2

After voting out Morriah Young in the Survivor Season 43 premiere, Elie and Jeanine Zheng discussed who they should target for the next Tribal Council and who they should align with — Owen or Sami Layadi.

Elie told the cameras, “I feel a little bit like Sami and Owen are my children. Sami is my firstborn, and he came out really independent and, you know, strong-willed. He can kind of take charge and doesn’t need a lot of tending to. And Owen is like my baby boy, my second born. Even though he’s older, he needs a lot more attention, and so, he’s the more high-maintenance child in this situation.”

The Survivor Season 43 episode then cut to Elie and Owen doing work around camp. And Elie said, “If you need to take a break, then take a break. OK? The frustration makes it harder, right?” while patting Owen’s head. Owen responds, “You’re not wrong. Thank you. I’m glad I have a therapist out here.”

Fans discuss the interaction

After watching the episode, one Survivor Season 43 fan took to Reddit to debate the exchange between Elie and Owen. They wrote, “Am I the only one who was turned off when Elie petted Owen’s head and said he’s like her kid?”

A Reddit user commented, “It’s like when people use the term ‘Bud,’ which always feels condescending to me.”

However, not everyone was uncomfortable with the interaction. Someone said, “I know some people might be uncomfortable with that, both with it being physical touch and maybe even coming off as condescending. Ultimately we’re seen like 10 minutes of their 5760-minute relationship, so we don’t really know their complete relationship dynamic. I’m sure Owen is fine.”

“It was more than likely taken out of context,” another fan wrote. “But I also think the editors deliberately took it out of context to make viewers feel a certain way to set her (or Owen) up as a major character later in the game.”

One Reddit user added, “It’s definitely important. Considering they showed a scene immediately afterward of the guys talking about how the women are underestimating them.”

Where does Elie stand in ‘Survivor’ Season 43?

The last Reddit user might have been on to something because Elie and Jeanine came under fire in Survivor Season 43 Episode 3.

Sami was tired of the women’s confidence, so he snitched on them by telling Mike Gabler that they looked through his bag. And he also revealed that Elie and Jeanine wanted to make Gabler believe that his immunity idol works. Now, Gabler wants Elie out of the game. He even lied to her, and she and Jeanine now think Gabler doesn’t know his idol still works.

Thankfully for Elie, Baka won the Immunity Challenge, and they didn’t have to go to Tribal Council.

Survivor Season 43 airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

RELATED: ‘Survivor’ Season 43 Predictions: Who Will Leave in Tonight’s Episode?