Survivor 41 was divisive for a lot of reasons, but the biggest upset came on finale night when Erika Casupanan was crowned the Sole Survivor in a 8-1-0 vote against finalists Deshawn Radden and Xander Hastings. A contentious debate ensued amongst fans over who of the three was actually the most deserving contestant to win, with many believing it to be Hastings. The drama, which is a constant with this show these days, has continued on weeks after the fact, with an audacious fan’s GoFundMe campaign – which has already faced some issues – attempting to right the perceived wrong.

At the tail-end of 2021, a self-proclaimed Survivor fan created a GoFundMe page specifically with a goal of raising money to make up for Xander Hastings’ loss on finale night, deeming him the “true winner.” Theyfan said they were “disheartened” by Season 41’s outcome and “wanted to do something about it,” and a crowd-funding campaign certainly counts as “something.” 

The effort had racked in over $2,000 in just a few days before it was taken down by the creator. In an update on the situation, it was explained that they mistakenly believed Hastings’ permission and contact info were needed to continue gathering funds for him on the platform. That apparently isn’t the case, however, which leads us to the second attempt. 

The original GoFundMe is now in the process of refunding those early contributions, but the endeavor was rebooted through a new page. (The creator claimed that hundreds of fellow Xander Hastings supporters were reaching out with the hopes to continue the fundraiser.) However, instead of officially attempting to retcon the Survivor finale’s results, the campaign’s slogan is seeking only to award Hastings with the expected $100,000 Fan Favorite Award that Survivor got rid of in Season 41.

I’m not impartial to reanimating the $100K Fan Favorite tradition that was handed out for many years by CBS itself before pop singer Sia took up its mantle and rebranded it as the “Sia Award.” Personally, I consider Shan Smith the stand-out player of Survivor 41 who is most deserving of the honor, but there has also been talk amongst viewers that Ricard Foye is equally as deserving for his ruthless gameplay. Still, I think we know where the GoFundMe-pushing fan’s loyalty lies.

Suffice to say, though, it’s all a bit awkward. Erika Casupanan is in fact the winner of Survivor 41, as per the rules of the game and ultimate jury votes. She is also the first woman of color to win since Natalie Anderson in San Juan del Sur. Casupanan’s game strategy was very subtle and – much like in the case of Survivor: Kaôh Rōng winner Michele Fitzgerald – doesn’t get the full credit it deserves. For her part, Casupanan admitted that the new twists in Season 41 certainly helped her out – but they also allowed for advantages in the cases of fellow finalists Xander Hastings and Deshawn Radden. (Hastings himself knows exactly where he went wrong.)

Ongoing debates over deserving winners is part and parcel for the game of Survivor. One could even say it’s a prerequisite, since the competition is full of upsets, blindsides and unknown variables. But clearly, fans are hoping to take matters into their own hands when it comes to Season 41’s sour jury zeroing out Xander Hastings in votes.

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