Entertainment: Australian Survivor host Jonathan LaPaglia says show is 'incredibly white' - PressFrom - Australia
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EntertainmentAustralian Survivor host Jonathan LaPaglia says show is 'incredibly white'

08:16  16 august  2019
08:16  16 august  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

'I'm a little worried!' Australian Survivor's David plays his idol for instant immunity before tie vote sees champions tribe sent into chaos... as Hannah is eventually sent home

'I'm a little worried!' Australian Survivor's David plays his idol for instant immunity before tie vote sees champions tribe sent into chaos... as Hannah is eventually sent home Australian Survivor descended into chaos on Monday night. With the champions team sent to Tribal Council and no sense of alliance, it was every player for themselves. A worried David Genat handed over his idol for instant immunity, before Hannah Pentreath was eliminated after a tie vote with Shaun Hampson. 'I'm a little worried tonight, for sure,' David, 39, told host Jonathan LaPaglia before playing his idol for instant immunity. Fellow champion tribe member Luke Toki, 33, also handed over his idol, keeping him safe from elimination for another episode.

Jonathan LaPaglia (/ləˈpɑːliə/, Italian: [laˈpaʎʎa]; born 31 August 1969) is an Australian actor known for his roles as Frank B. Parker in the television series Seven Days, Kevin Debreno in The District and Det. Tommy McNamara in New York Undercover.

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Australian Survivor host Jonathan LaPaglia says show is 'incredibly white'© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Survivor Australia host Jonathan LaPaglia agrees with the criticism around the casting of the show. (Supplied: Network Ten)

When Network Ten revived the Survivor franchise in 2016, it made headlines for the wrong reasons: fan backlash over its overwhelmingly white cast.

Talking to Stop Everything! this week, even Australian Survivor host Jonathan LaPaglia was copping to that criticism:

"We could beat around the bush, but it is incredibly white, right? I mean it is, and that's not how I see the world, that's not how I see Australia."

"Australia is a melting pot of cultures and I think Survivor is the perfect platform to reflect that, right? But for some reason when it's cast, it doesn't end up that way," LaPaglia says.

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Survivor Australia host Jonathan LaPaglia .Source:Supplied. LaPaglia is a very important part of a meticulously planned production of the original In total there are 156 Australians that have gone to the small Pacific Island nation of Samoa to work on the show , so many they have booked out the one

According to the 2016 census, just over 3 per cent of the Australian population is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and 49 per cent of Australians were born overseas or have at least one foreign-born parent, but beyond that there is no specific census data on race.

Jericho Malabonga, whose background is Filipino, did win season two of the show, and the latest season's crop of 24 Champions v Contenders included Olympic champion and former senator Nova Peris and Sydney digital marketing manager Laura Choong.

But with both Peris and Choong being eliminated early on, it appears to be that the only non-white faces on the current season of Australian Survivor, set in Fiji, are the brief flashes during the opening credits of what we are meant to read as "tribespeople".

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LaPaglia (whose TV credits also include ABC's The Slap) has signed on as host of all four seasons of Ten's Australian Survivor. But unlike his American counterpart Jeff Probst, who also serves as his show's Executive Producer, the Australian has an arm's-length relationship with the local production.

"Unfortunately, I'm not part of the casting process," he told Stop Everything!

"I've never really got a satisfactory answer on it [the diversity question]. Basically I'm told that there aren't that many people from minority cultures that apply, and whether that's true or not, I don't know, but that's kind of what I'm told."

"The producers probably want to stab me right now but … to disagree would be disingenuous right? I mean, it's hard to deny the obvious, it does feel very whitewashed, yes."

Network Ten declined to comment on this story. Endemol Shine Australia, which produces Australian Survivor, did not respond to a request seeking a response to LaPaglia's comments, and did not provide answers to questions about the show's casting process

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In the meantime, even devoted fans continue to complain about Australian Survivor's lack of diversity.

Shannon Gaitz is a journalist and self-described Survivor superfan, deeply involved in the international Survivor fan community, and host of the Australian Survivor Rhap Up podcast.

She says the lack of racial and age diversity among contestants is a discussion point among fans, with implications on gameplay.

"It's a missed opportunity because the show is so great ... it's meant to be a microcosm of society at large," Gaitz says.

Within the Survivor world, where social alliances, strategy and political manoeuvring can dramatically shift the outcome of each tribal council, there is power in numbers.

"But the problem is when you have a rarity of racial minorities or age minorities or whatever it may be, those people can be targeted in some ways, or not fit into the social group which is the bread and butter of the show," she says.

"So it has just layers upon layers of negative effects. Diversity would be better for the show in entertainment, in the game and obviously for us to see on TV."

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