I’m a big believer that all is fair and love and “Survivor.” Want to stab your best buddy in the back? I say, “Stab away.” Everybody knows what they’re getting into when they sign up to play the game.
That being said, there have been a few moments over the years where things that have happened have made me uncomfortable. Colton Cumbie lashing into Bill Posley’s personal life during last night’s Tribal Council was definitely one such occasion.
I spoke with Bill the morning after the weirdest Tribal Council ever to get his take on whether it was racism, classism, or just living a sheltered life that sparked the horrific exchange, why the Manono men are putting up with it, and what he could have done differently.
Gordon Holmes: Bill, I never, ever do this, but I want you to know I’m sending you the biggest hug possible over the phone lines.
Bill Posley: (Laughs)
CBS Representative: Gordon never does that.
Holmes: I never do that.
Posley: Aw…thank you, man.
Holmes: So, let’s not beat around the bush here; is Colton a bully?
Posley: Yeah. I think that’s an accurate way to depict his behavior and his character. He is a bully. If I can remember correctly, I believe he’s an only child. He’s spoiled, he comes from a very wealthy background. And I believe he’s gotten his way in his life pretty painlessly. And now that he has to deal with people from different walks of life, I believe he thinks he should get his way. He doesn’t realize that compromise or things like that are a part of human interaction.
Holmes: It’s one thing to want your own way, it’s quite another for a tribe of grown men to give you your own way. Why are the Manono men going along with his crazy ideas?
Posley: I was trying so hard to get him. Even us going to that Tribal was an attempt by me to sway people over to my side. But ultimately, it’s fear. It’s preservation. The other guys were thinking, “He has an idol. At least it’s not me.” But everyone just got straight in line like sheep to the slaughter. That’s not how I wanted to play. But yeah, fear is the reason.
Holmes: So that’s why you agreed to go to Tribal?
Posley: I thought it was a bold thing. In my mind people on the other tribe would think it was the boldest move ever. I tried to put together a campaign to go after him, and I thought I had some people on my side. I was going to go to Tribal Council to plead my case and expose him for who he was. It didn’t work out that way.
Holmes: Was there any talk at all about trying to at least flush out his idol?
Posley: There has been. I don’t care who it is, if I know that there’s an idol in my camp and it’s not mine, I can’t sleep at night. It shouldn’t be a controlling power, it should be a target.
Holmes: “Gay Republican” is a demographic that is seriously underrepresented on American television. Are you worried that Colton has given them a bad name?
Posley: He absolutely has. Whether we like it or not, when you are in a public forum and you claim to be something, you’ve now labeled yourself as that. And unfortunately, the way you behave is a ripple effect. And he absolutely gave a bad name to everything he stands for. He claims to be a man of God and a Southern Baptist. But forgiveness, not lying, turning the other cheek? All the things about accepting people for who they are and everyone is a child of God? To have these strong opinions and hate people who come from different walks of life? That’s not spiritual. That’s not Godly. And I don’t think he knows what it’s like to be a gay man In America. He lives in a town with his boyfriend and their way of life is accepted. They get to go to church openly. Both of their families are respected, they’re respected. That isn’t really true for most people who grow up in this world. But yeah, anything he says he is, he’s now representing.
Holmes: I think what stuck with me the most was when Colton attacked your career choice. That was just oddly out-of-leftfield and personal. What was going through your mind when he decided to go there?
Posley: I’m sitting there going, “This guy knows absolutely nothing about me and he’s making judgments.” One of the things I kept from the group was that I was in the Army, that I was a veteran. And he’s sitting there saying, “You’re just sleeping on people’s couches, you’re blah blah blah.” I wanted to explode and be like, “The truth of the matter is; all these freedoms that you get to enjoy, I fought for them. I risked my life for you. And for you to sit up here and tell me to get off of people’s couches? I fought for the right to do that.”
Holmes: Dah…you should have said that.
Posley: I didn’t end up saying that because I didn’t want to reveal that. But I was sitting there biting my tongue, thinking “For you to be in a country where you can be openly gay and you can go to school and say what you want? Freedom of speech? Freedom of religion? That’s why I defended this country. And for you to judge me for living it?” I couldn’t believe it.
Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Jonas.
Posley: My brother.
Posley: Wild, too smart for his own good.
Posley: Michael is too soft spoken.
Posley: Good ol’ Southern boy.
(A long period of silence.)
Holmes: Bad joke. Tarzan was calling Jonas “Jason” last night.
Posley: (Laughs) Oh yeah!
Holmes: You’re a comedian. You know the best jokes are the ones you have to explain.
Posley: (Laughs) They are the best jokes. Now you’re in my wheelhouse. That’s where I live.
Holmes: Alright, let’s try Leif.
Posley: Inexperienced brat.
Holmes: With many of the Survivors on Twitter now, it’s easier than ever to drop someone a line and give them your thoughts. What’ve been some of the reactions you’ve been receiving since last night’s episode?
Posley: Up until last night I had no idea how it was going to be portrayed. I remember being there, but it was so long ago I don’t remember how powerful that moment was. But online has been one of the most supportive nets that I’ve ever fallen into. It has been so powerful. The two major things I’ve gotten are; so many people said they’re struggling too and me saying what I said makes them want to follow their dreams. And the other is the thing I said about “He judged me for my differences and I accepted him because of his.” I don’t remember saying that, but people have said, “Wow! That’s how life should be lived.”
Holmes: I’m glad you brought that up. I was watching with my girlfriend last night and she commented on what a great sentiment that was. Maybe your next step should be trade marking that and putting it on bumper stickers.
Posley: (Laughs) Yeah, and t-shirts.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes