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Survivor 42 Contestant Opens Up About Early Removal By Jeff Probst In The Premiere

survivor 42 cast photo
(Image credit: CBS)

Warning: spoilers ahead for the Survivor 42 premiere!

We’ve slowly been gathering intel about the new Survivor 42 cast, including their biggest secrets and their backgrounds. (Some of which can get a little TMI when it comes to cow anatomy.) Surprisingly, though, CBS itself didn’t have all the information about one particular player before the game started – leading to his early removal by host Jeff Probst in the premiere episode. Now, the ousted contestant has opened up about his feelings on the situation at the time and since.

As was revealed in the premiere, Jeff Probst had to take 48-year-old Jackson Fox out of the game. The longtime host said that their team didn’t know that Fox had been on lithium medication until the day before Survivor 42 was set for filming. (For his part, Fox would share on-camera that he had been on the meds for sleep and stress following his mother’s death and was weaning off them.) 

The castmate confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that the show agreed to let him stay on while they monitored his health – which ultimately got to be too worrisome as he was showing signs of dizziness and dehydration. And apparently, Fox doesn’t hold a grudge about how things panned out for him, saying,

I was happy they cared more about my well-being than me playing the game and getting hurt. They could have left me in there and said, ‘This could make a really good show.’ It came down to my health and safety, and before we even started, [Jeff Probst] treated it very well. He was like, ‘You tell me what you want to do and we'll do it.’ And I was like, ‘Let's just talk about it. Let's take the stigma away from being on medication.’

Jackson Fox would indeed speak frankly on the show that he didn’t feel the need to disclose his lithium use prior to filming, only because he believed coming off it made it a non-issue. The Survivor 42 player told the outlet, however, that the issue becomes very evident after going from being deprived on the island to fully fed and watered on the outside. He in fact said he didn’t realize “how off” and “disorientating” he felt in the game until later. He added,

But I knew it was the best call. My biggest fear was I could have fallen into the fire, and those are things you've seen before, and I don't need to do that. That's not how I wanna go out on Survivor.

Still, getting pulled from Survivor 42 took its toll emotionally. Jackson Fox shared that he felt “broken” in the wake of his ouster and angry at himself for “not taking the right precautions.” Yet Fox was also clear that he was not mad at Jeff Probst – who has been known to take some heat in the past – for pulling the plug on his quest for the $1 million prize.

It’s an unfortunately swift way to bow out, especially for Survivor’s first openly transgender contestant. But the show must go on – and with it, some of the new twists from Season 41 are emerging yet again, as well as a few surprising others. Hopefully, all the moving pieces won’t feel as complicated as it did before. Tune into next week’s episode on CBS on Wednesday, 8 p.m. EST, on the 2022 TV schedule!

Lauren Vanderveen
Lauren Vanderveen

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.