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To say Shirin Oskooi had a rough go of it on Survivor: Worlds Apart would be an understatement. She seemed to be constantly on the outs with the rest of her tribe—all three of them.
But things turned downright ugly in the past few weeks when she was on the receiving end of vicious personal attacks from both Dan and Will—with Dan twice telling cameras that he wished someone would come hit her to shut her up, and Will telling Shirin (who comes from a family that was ripped apart by domestic violence) to her face that she had no one who loved her back home. No wonder she now says she’s “actually thrilled to be away from such horrible people.”
Shirin—who was voted out of the tribe on last night’s episode—called into Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105) today to give her take on all the ugliness. You can now hear the entire interview here on the InsideTV Podcast by clicking on the audio player below. (The interview starts at the 12:30 minute mark.) Here are a few highlights of the conversation:
On watching the personal attacks play back on TV:
“I forgot about a lot of the horrible stuff that happened to me because everything was eclipsed by the big Will event. So the episode where Dan is in the pond talking down to me…I forgot about that entirely until I saw that on TV. And it was kind of a slap to the face.”
On Dan’s harsh comments about her during confessional interviews:
“I had no idea how malicious Dan is. I genuinely thought he was just dumb. He spoke to people like he was just ignorant and said these dumb things out loud, like comparing adoption to domestic violence. And now seeing these horrific confessionals and seeing his reaction on social media standing by this stuff, and victim-blaming, and not picking up the phone and apologizing because he’s ‘better than that.’ I’m so disappointed because I now see him in a completely different light. I think he’s misguided and is cruel and pathetic.”
On Survivor showing Dan and Will’s attacks on her:
“I think it’s so important that when people have these really backwards views that they are shown and not swept under the rug so people see—we’re not crying wolf here. These are real issues. I am proud that they are putting it all on display this season for people to see. And it’s not about me. It’s not what I had to deal with. This is America.”
On Will’s brutal comments to her about having no family and no one that cared for her back home:
“That blow-up was a lot worse than what you saw. There were lines in it like, “I don’t talk that way to women but she’s not a woman.” When he was really screaming at me, that lasted for, I don’t know, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes. It was for a very long time. …That was not the first time that he ever blew up at me. That was just the worst time that he blew up at me. There were many blow-ups along the way.… Once the merge happened, he was always trying to pawn his vote off on me. So at the Hali vote-off, he was like, ‘Oh, that was Shirin. We can’t trust her because she doesn’t have a soul.’ And that’s when he started on the personal attacks.… It’s also scary to think, that’s how he behaved with people around and with cameras. That’s him holding back. I was genuinely scared.… He spoke to me exactly the way my dad used to speak to me before my dad would then beat me up.”
On production’s reaction to Will’s attack:
“I don’t want to talk to much about the production side and get in trouble, but I was pulled aside by the producers after it happened—that’s how bad it was. The producers puled me aside and said, ‘Whoa! That was wrong!’ And they don’t comment ever on people’s actions and what people do. Yes, I was pulled aside by production who said, ‘That was wrong. We’re sorry you had to go through that.’ And that’s all I’ll say about it.
On how denying Will his letter from home wasn’t just being personal:
“It was also strategic. It was both. If he had treated me like a decent human being, the compassionate side of me would have said, everybody else got their letters…Yes, part of it was he never treated me compassionately so I wasn’t going to do him the same courtesy. But a big part of it actually comes back to the whole psychology. There were people out there where if I didn’t raise my hand—people like Will, people like Dan—they were going to walk away from that saying ‘Yeah, that bitch can’t even stand up for herself because she’s nothing, and we will continue to trot all over her.’ Whereas people like Sierra and Mike were actually inspired and proud by the fact I raised my hand.”
On actually having a good chance of winning had she stayed:
“I was in a phenomenal spot. I was never going to win 100 percent of the jury votes, but I think I could have had the three No Collar jury votes. If Mike were on the jury, he always said he was going to vote for me to win, and I firmly believe that Sierra would have voted for me to win—and that’s five.”
On knowing Mike had an idol:
“Mike told Jenn and me he had the idol after the Will blow-up…I just needed one of the three of us to win to beat out evil. I would do whatever it took for Mike—who at that point had the best chance in the game to win—I would do whatever it took for him to win. I knew that he had the idol and I knew he was going to pull some sort of stunt with it. I had to give a super convincing performance that I was surprised and I was excited that he was going to play it for me. And it worked. So even though I got voted out, it was a win for Team Shirin because it was a win for Team Mike that they threw two votes Dan’s way. It couldn’t have gone any better.”
On why she did not save her money for the auction advantage:
“Before we go into the auction—you may remember from the episode before I struck a deal with Mike and Sierra to go with them—Mike and Sierra before the auction said, if you go for the advantage, then we will no longer trust you. It will just paint a target on your back.”
On whether she had a positive or negative experience:
“Honestly the only incredibly difficult part for me to rewatch and contend with is the Will attack. That’s something that’s been haunting me since we got back. Its something I’ve been dreading and something I’ve been anxious about. And it was hard to relive.… That was hard. The rest of it…I had such an amazing experience. I got to go on cool rewards… And I made it pretty far considering everybody hated me form day 1. I have so much to be proud of.”
Listen to the entire interview below. (It starts at the 12:30 mark.) But first, we chat with the creators of Orphan Black—John Fawcett and Graeme Manson—about the latest episode of the clone drama. It’s must-hear intel for any fan of the show.
You can listen to the whole podcast below. Or, since we’re on iTunes, you can subscribe for free and take the podcast with you. No iTunes? No problem. You can also download the entire podcast right here. To send a question to the InsideTV Podcast team, follow us on Twitter @InsideTVPodcast. And to hear more interviews and television discussion and debate, check out Entertainment Weekly Radio on SiriusXM, channel 105.