The competition show Survive the Raft premiered on Discovery Channel in July 2023, featuring a diverse cast of nine competitors battling for a life-changing sum of money. The camaraderie among the cast is crucial as they work together to increase the prize money and decide who is eliminated each week.
In a clip from Sunday’s Survive the Raft episode, the group faces a decision of whether or not to eliminate one popular cast member — Jamal “Jimmy” Yessin. However, one factor regarding Jimmy’s cultural background affected the team’s decision.
Sunday’s ‘Survive the Raft' episode includes the team making a tough choice about Jimmy.
Survive the Raft has a cast of people unafraid of a challenge, and Jimmy fits in from the beginning of the competition. The professional paddleboarder is a fearless leader and has dubbed himself the “captain” of the competition on his personal Instagram account.
Within the last few Survive the Raft episodes, Jimmy has also gained a reputation for being “confrontational” with the group and not exactly the most positive team player. So it doesn’t come as a surprise when his name comes up when it’s time to decide who will be next on the competition’s chopping block.
In the clip of Sunday’s episode, Jimmy admits that he worries his castmates don’t trust him and think that he’s up to no good (spoiler alert, he is!). Jimmy then says in a voiceover that he will make sure his name isn’t on the elimination list and will do so at any cost.
As Jimmy fears the worst, his teammates huddle up and reveal they are considering eliminating Jimmy, as he expected. However, the competitors aren’t sure getting rid of him is the best idea because Jimmy is “full Syrian,” and eliminating someone “of color” could make the competition look discriminatory.
One competitor, CJ Duffie, also worried that the agreement would pose a problem for him as a white male member of the game.
“I’m told that regardless of how confrontational Jimmy may be, we cannot remove him because he’s Syrian,” CJ said in a confessional interview. “And if we’re only keeping people on this boat that are marginalized groups, that’s very dangerous for me.”
‘Survive the Raft’ has been under fire after a Muslim competitor walked off the show.
The decision not to eliminate Jimmy because of his race came from several of Survive the Raft’s white competitors: CJ, Elliott Capella, and Russell Ellis. In the clip, Russell said the elimination wasn’t a “good move,” a call that was likely made after several Survive the Raft cast members of color either quit or were fired from the show.
So far, four of the nine competitors in the first season have either been eliminated or walked off the series for personal reasons. The early exits included Jonathan Dade, Mykhal Polite, and Lashanna Lintamo — who are all Black.
Summer, who is Muslim, also said on the show that she felt like the team intentionally tried to get rid of her because of her Muslim faith by picking unnecessary fights with her.
“One hundred percent the team is looking for their moment to get rid of me, and I don’t want to sit here and say it comes down to a racial thing, but I'll leave that for the world to see,” Summer said in a confessional interview. “We don’t speak the same language, we don’t have the same culture. I feel singled out. I didn’t come here for that. What the heck am I doing here?”
Tune into Survive the Raft on Sunday, August 27, 2023, at 9PM ET/PT on the Discovery Channel.