Hantz first appeared on Survivor: Samoa in 2009. His first foray into the show saw him using lies, deceit and cruel tactics to psychologically weaken the other players – he lied about being a Firefighter claiming to have saved people’s lives in Hurricane Katrina.
Despite his lies, he finished Samoa a close runner up, and won $100,000 for being Sprint Player of the Season. But despite his financial break, Hantz proved to be a bad loser and offered $100,000 to his successor Nathalie White for the title of Sole Survivor, which White declined.
So why is Hantz playing for the fourth time? Money isn’t the reason. The Texas oilman is estimated to be worth US$2 million and the 45-year-old has returned twice since his initial fallout, coming second in Survivor Heroes vs Villains and competing in Redemption Island where he was voted off and claimed it would be his last season.
The Contenders better watch out for this self-professed villain. “See, that's another thing,” said Hantz after being accused of leaking information to fansite Survivor Sucks. “I am the villain,” he said. As it turns out, that also extends to his personal life. Hantz was arrested in April 2010 for battery after he shoved a woman to the ground, leaving her with minor injuries.
It’s unlikely he’ll resort to violence in order to win, but this is one villain to surpass all villains. Known for his controversy and lies, in episode one of Champions V Contenders, he claims to be “just a good ol’ guy” when Survivor host John La Paglia asks Hantz what makes him a champion. So, will Russell Hantz get his dream and be this year’s Survivor winner? Only 50 days before we find out.