‘Survivor: Winners at War’: Michele Fitzgerald Claps Back at Haters on Social Media

After Survivor: Winners at War, many fans took to social media — as they always do — to congratulate players and criticize others. However, Michele Fitzgerald believes they took things too far. She tweeted a message telling fans that it is not easy to be on Reality TV, along with words of advice to viewers.

[Spoiler alert: Survivor 40: Winners at War Episode 11 spoilers ahead.]

Michele Fitzgerald
Michele Fitzgerald | CBS Entertainment

What happened on ‘Survivor: Winners at War’ Episode 11 that upset fans?

In a devastating turn of events, Sophie Clarke was blindsided with a hidden immunity idol in her pocket. Many fans thought it was a massive move by Tony Vlachos that was well executed. He knew his alliance was planning to split their votes — two for Michele Fitzgerald and three for Jeremy Collins. 

Tony thought this was the perfect time to vote out Sophie. He waited until very late in the evening, right before the tribal council to ask Jeremy to flip sides. Tony also asked Jeremy to talk Michele into the flip because their names were both on the chopping block. 

Because the show is only 42 minutes long, we do not see the conversation between Michele and Jeremy. While at tribal council, there is no whispering. The blindside goes off without a problem, and Sophie was so sad. She had no idea that Tony had flipped. 

Why did the winner of ‘Survivor: Kaôh Rōng’ — Michele Fitgerald — send a message to haters on Twitter?

After the episode, many of the Survivor contestants tweet their remarks about the show now that they can finally talk about it. They also read fan comments. This week many fans remarked that Sophie was not a “bottom-tier winner.” Sophie said that about herself after leaving the game. Although many fans defended her, there were a few who did not leave kind words. 

“If you go home with an idol in your pocket, you are not one of the greats,” tweeted one fan.

Other fans complained that Sophie deserved to go home. Some were mad at Michele for writing Sophie’s name down. So, Michele defended herself and her fellow Survivor castaways.

“It isn’t always easy being on social media while on a reality TV show,” Michele tweeted. “Every Wednesday, I find myself emotionally drained from watching and seeing some of these comments. All I ask is that you respond with empathy and grace, even if we are just characters on TV to you.”

Michele’s friends, family, fellow ‘Survivors’ and fans supported her callout

“I don’t think she’s talking about herself guys, but some of her tribemates who she deeply cares about,” wrote one fan. “I see a lot of people attacking others for voting out their favs, or just simply existing on the island. It needs to stop.”

In addition to numerous fans speaking out, Michele’s dad had sweet words of encouragement.

“Michele, when I watch, I see you, not a character,” wrote Michele’s dad. “Hey people, this is Michele, this is how she is! Thankful for all the love and support from the fans.”

Several other Survivor players added to the flood of over 400 comments on Michele’s one tweet.

“Girlllll you are auuuhhhmazzing,” wrote Ciera Eastin from Survivor 27, 31, & 34. Everyone has something stupid/mean to say. Ignore the mean people. Because you deserve your spot, and you are a true threat!!!!!”

The other players agree that watching the season back is so difficult now that social media is so massive. It is much harder than it was in the earlier seasons, where castaways didn’t have to see the constant comments about them. 

“The new seasons are so different with the Social Networks,” wrote fellow castaway, Sugar, from Survivor 17 and 20. “VERY different. I think it’s much harder on your psyche, especially WHILE you’re reliving it. The fans don’t understand that. I guess we can’t expect them to. It’s just entertainment to them.”

Michele is still in the game in a newly formed alliance with Tony, Jeremy, and Nick Wilson. To see how the rest of Survivor: Winners at War plays out, tune in to CBS on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST.

Read more: ‘Survivor: Winners at War’: Fans Either Love Boston Rob or They Hate Him — Why Is He Such a Polarizing Player?