The Hypocritical Winner: Vecepia Towery
« on: Nov 7th, 2002, 11:01am »
The Hypocritical Winner: Vecepia Towery
by Charlie Reneke -- 11/06/2002
Up until now, we have never seen a reality TV show winner inducted into the Hall of Shame. After all, most people who do shameful things end up losing – often because of them. But when we look back to the winner of Survivor: Marquesas, we see Vecepia Towery, a woman who was shameful in both her victory and what she had to say afterwards.
I'm convinced there is a bias among reality TV casting directors. It has nothing to do with race, religion, sexuality, or anything like that. It has to do with location. More specifically, among those contestants who hail from the great Northwest. I'm from Oregon, and I can tell you that it's frustrating that everyone who represents us is not exactly a great spokesperson for the kind of people we are. Lindsey from Survivor 3, Nick Brown was from Washington State (my present location) in Survivor 2. Hell, they chose a Washingtonian to be the latest Mole. But the worst reality contestant who is from the Northwest is without question Vecepia Towery.
If there was ever anyone who the Hall of Shame was designed for, it's Vecepia Towery from Survivor: Marquesas. She was perhaps the least desirable winner of any show to date. So boring and lazy was she on the island that she had the lowest amount of screen time of any Survivor contestant to date, sans maybe somebody who was voted off first in any of the series. Mind you, when her total amount of face time is comparable to that of Peter, the first guy voted off the show, you have to be REALLY boring. If Mark Burnett was smart, he would enter Vecepia into evidence in his case against Stacey Stillman. "You see, Your Honor, if I was to rig Survivor, I wouldn't have allowed this boring human to last three days, let alone all thirty-nine."
It was a forgettable end to a forgettable edition of TV's most popular reality show. Vecepia coasted on laziness for most of her stay on the island, hiding behind her religion and her race. Although the race card was clearly Sean's strategy, Vee wanted to make it clear: any votes against her were based on race alone. In her final days on the island, Vee made a last-second deal with Kathy, in front of the group and the jury, that they would team up for the remainder of the game and make sure that Paschal and Neleh would not be the finalists. By luck, and in one of the most ill-conceived ideas in reality TV history, Paschal drew the PURPLE STONE OF DEATH and was out of the game.
Then comes the final immunity challenge. A weakened Kathy could no longer hang on to the immunity idol and ended up dropping out after trying to fix her blouse because her chest was already dropping out. Vecepia decided to turn on Kathy and told Neleh that she would drop out of the challenge if Neleh took her into the finals with her. Neleh agreed, because she had planned to axe Kathy anyway. Besides, who would vote for Vecepia to win?
Normally, backstabbing, lying, and the like would be a great formula for winning. But in Vecepia’s specific case, it's funny how she ignored her religious beliefs when they weren't convenient to her survival on the island. But that's okay, because as she has reminded everyone who has interviewed her since, "God had forgiven me." Really? I didn't realize she spoke for God. Anyway, Vecepia sadly won Survivor, and I have no clue how that happened, but it was a pathetic ending where Tammy accused Neleh and Vecepia of being holier then thou hypocrites. I really don't understand how Neleh was hypocritical. She had no agreements with anyone but Paschal and you can't blame her for wanting Vee in the finals against her. All indications said that the vote would be a 6-to-1 slam dunk for her.
But Vecepia won, and we can't change that. Her actions on the island alone make her a bad person in general, but not quite Hall of Shame material. However, once everything was over with and she had the money, the true hypocrite that is Vecepia began to ooze out for all to see. In interviews, she explained why God favored her over everyone else. Below are actual quotes from these articles, along with the source and/or links. My comments follow each quote:
Kathy made the deal to take the heat and I emphasized the fact to her that she absolutely had to win in order for her to make it to the finals and she agreed. So once she lost the challenge and fell off, I felt our alliance (at that moment) was null and void.
Yu huh, so basically even though she saved your ass on several occasions, the agreement was null and void because she slipped up and couldn't hang on any longer. What a team player you are.
John told me, 'You realize that I'm openly gay.' And I said, 'Yeah, I kind of figured that. But I have to be honest, based on my spiritual beliefs, I don't agree with the lifestyle. But you, as a person, I have nothing against.'"
Maybe if you actually practice what you preach, you would have a right to say, "I don't agree with your lifestyle." She might as well have told John, "As a person, I have nothing against you. Why should I? You're going to Hell, not me." By the way, Vecepia's sister is gay.
Q: So you and Neleh both believe in God. Did God like you more?
A: I always believed God will never give you too much you can handle and afford. Maybe He said she's 21 and this other lady is married, settled, and looking to start a family. That's how I see it, anyway.
So yes, you're saying God favored you more than Neleh. Thanks for clearing that up. What a gracious winner you are.
The winner of this season’s “Survivor” challenge added a new twist… she invoked God’s name to justify and defend her actions. … “In every game you have to make a move you really don’t want to, but in order to keep the upper hand, you have to. …” said Vecepia Towery … “Being a Christian, we know we have that ability to go to our Father and say, ‘This is what I did’ – and after it’s over – ask for forgiveness.” Each time she won a challenge, Towery thanked God. And when the million-dollar jackpot fell to her, she said, “I could see God’s work at hand … God worked miracles for me.”
-- The Salt Lake Tribune, May 25, 2002.
So again, she says God favored her. This raises the question of whether God paid attention to the first three series. Survivor 1 was won by Rich Hatch, a gay man who was rather outspoken against religion. The Survivor: Africa victor was Ethan, who is Jewish. In each of the previous series, extremely religious Christians have lost – indeed, a Pastor was the first one voted off of the newer Survivor: Thailand. Why did God suddenly take an interest for Vee – especially when she is much more hypocritical than any of the previous Christian contestants?
The same Salt Lake Tribune article mentioned above quoted this site’s editor, David Bloomberg, as noting:
I find it hypocritical to plan a sin, to know you are going to sin, to go ahead with the sin, and then to say the sin was alright because she asked forgiveness. … Vecepia proclaimed holiness while at the same time being deceptive and stabbing people in the back. … It was hypocritical to be doing that and at the same time saying you are glorifying God.
In case you just think it’s reality TV reviewers who feels this way, the same article also quoted Bob Waliszewski, youth culture specialist for Focus on the Family, saying:
As a Christian, it really bothered me to see someone who has cheapened the atonement of Jesus Christ by saying, ‘I can do this purposefully wrong and he’ll forgive me.’
Others quoted said similar things.
Bloomberg also noted:
It’s one thing to pray for safety and all of that, but quite another to thank God every time you win something. Every time Vecepia won, it meant other Christians, like Sean and Paschal and Neleh, lost. What does that say?
This follows the trend of a number of previous articles that were written about Vee during and immediately after the game. For example, from Bloomberg’s “Why Vecepia Won” article:
If she wanted to say that it was all just a game and lying is part of it so therefore it’s not really sinning (or something to that effect), that would be one thing. But she didn’t. She acknowledged that what she had done was wrong, and then she went ahead and did it anyway. For Vee, at least, Tammy was right in her indignation and her “holier than thou” speech.
Towery's unpopularity extends further. When Survivor 4 props were auctioned off on eBay, Vecepia's stuff fetched far less then Kathy's, Paschal's, Neleh's, or any members of the Jury. At CBS's popularity polls, Vecepia had a 52% popularity rating, which by no means is the lowest, but not even close to the highest (Gina was the most popular, for the record). Even Richard Hatch was more popular. With word traveling that an All-Star Survivor was being considered, polls showed that Vecepia was among the least wanted by fans to participate. Think about it, people would rather see Sue (S1), Jerri (S2), Nick (S2), Lindsey (S3), Brandon (S3), and Sarah (S4) over Vecepia. Those people were among the least popular players for their actions, and they are more desirable as All-Star players then Vecepia.
Without question, Vecepia is the worst winner in reality TV history. So unlikable that people would rather pretend that Survivor: Marquesas never happened then acknowledge her as the winner. It is for these reasons Vecepia Towery is inducted into the Reality TV Hall of Shame. Vecepia, you don't speak for God. Now please quietly fade away. Your fifteen minutes are up.