It wouldn’t be a new season of ”Survivor” without some embarrassing revelations from The Smoking Gun to make viewers wonder how thorough CBS’ background checks of the contestants are. Weeks before the ”Survivor: Pearl Islands” season begins on Sept. 18, the website has unearthed the drug and alcohol pasts of three contestants. Computer programmer Christa Hastie, 24, and grocery clerk Ryan Shoulders, 23, both have displayed a fondness for illicit drugs, if their postings on Usenet newsgroups are any indication. And 29-year-old art consultant Jon Dalton was arrested in 2002 in Los Angeles on a misdemeanor drunk driving charge, for which he was fined $510 and sentenced to two days in jail and three years probation.
Hastie’s newsgroup posts to alt.drugs, dating back to 1998, include requests for advice on where to score methamphetamines in the Los Angeles area and on ”getting the most out of your cocaine.” Posting on alt.drug.psychedelics in 1999 and 2000, Shoulders sought advice on shipping ”gel tabs” of acid through the mail and on activity ideas during the ”dead spots” of group trips.
Hastie also has an arrest record, though it’s noted in her official bio on CBS’ ”Survivor” website. According to the bio, Hastie ”was once arrested for a misdemeanor and charged with ‘disrupting an officer’s ability to perform his duties.’ While in college, she hopped on her car and refused to get off the hood when she discovered it was in the process of being towed.” CBS revealed the April 2000 arrest (for which Hastie was fined and sentenced to a year’s probation and five days of community service) because the network thought it was ”kinda funny,” CBS spokesperson Colleen Sullivan told The Smoking Gun. She said CBS did not disclose the drug postings because they were not public information, even though they’re posted on Usenet forums open to anyone.
Sullivan said that CBS was aware of Dalton’s DUI arrest. She also asserted that the castaways all passed drug tests before taping the competition in Panama.