After 40 Seasons, Jeff Probst Changes this Gendered 'Survivor' Phrase to be More Inclusive

Thursday September 23, 2021
Originally published on September 23, 2021

"Survivor" host Jeff Probst
"Survivor" host Jeff Probst  (Source:YouTube Still via CBS)

"Survivor" finally returned for its 41st season Wednesday night after it was on hiatus for over a year due to the pandemic. And with the new season comes plenty of change — and not just twists.

At the start of the Season 41 premiere, host Jeff Probst asked the 18 new castaways about one of the long-running reality show's most iconic catchphrases: "Come on in, guys!" which Probst yells when bringing in tribes to a challenge. Probst asked the players if he should continue using the gendered phrase or change it to simply, "Come on in!"

"I love saying it, it's part of the show, but I, too, want to be part of the moment," he said, asking the contestants to decide if the word "guys" was appropriate "in the context of 'Survivor.'" A number of castaways agreed that it was fine, including PhD student Evvie Jagoda, Insider notes.

"I, as a woman, as a queer woman, do not feel excluded by 'guys,'" Jagoda said, noting that it is "a signature expression."

After asking the cast again, no one responded so Probst decided to not change the phrase. However, before the immunity challenge started the following day, Ricard Foyé, a 31-year-old flight attendant who had revealed in the episode that he left behind his pregnant transgender husband and a baby daughter at home to come play "Survivor," spoke out and told Probst he thought about the phrase more, saying he should have said something at the time. He said he didn't have the "capacity" at the time to fully take in what Probst was asking and that he "fully agrees" with switching up the catchphrase by eliminating "guys" to be more inclusive.

"The reality is that 'Survivor' has changed over the last 21 years, and those changes have allowed all of us — all of these brown people, Black people, Asian people, so many queer people — to be here simultaneously," Foyé added.

Probst rescinded by agreeing with him and thanked him for having the "courage" to share his thoughts.

"I want to change it," Probst said. "I'm glad that was the last time I will ever say it."

Probst told viewers who have a problem with the change to tweet him, adding that "I'll probably never read it anyway."

"Survivor" isn't the first reality show to change its gendered language. Last year, "RuPaul's Drag Race" made a similar move to make addressing their contestants more inclusive. One of RuPaul's catchphrases comes when he introduces the episode, saying "Gentleman, start your engines, and may the best woman win!" But starting with Season 13, the line was changed to: "Racers, start your engines, and may the best drag queen win!" The same gendered language was also changed in the show's theme song.