LOS ANGELES — Mark Burnett isn't sure if contestant Russell Hantz was spilling "Survivor" secrets.
The "Survivor" executive producer said during a teleconference Thursday that he had "no idea" if Hantz, the 38-year-old schemer from Dayton, Texas, who starred in the "Samoa" and "Heroes vs. Villains" editions, leaked information about the CBS reality TV competition.'Survivor' Russell accused of leaking spoilers
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"I found out the same time you found out," Burnett said Thursday. "I read it online. I had no idea about it. I don't know if it's actually true. Honestly, as of this minute, I still have not had a conversation with CBS or anyone even about it. I was thinking about this yesterday. I should probably call someone and ask someone."
Hantz was accused of revealing several plot points about his seasons, including the elimination order of contestants, before it aired, to a man who posted on the "Survivor Sucks" message board, according to a report released last week by The Daily Beast.
"Survivor" producers filed a lawsuit against the poster, Jim Early, last year but later dismissed it. Early told The Daily Beast that the lawsuit was dropped because he provided evidence proving that Hantz was the mole. CBS said it "investigated some of these claims."
"Survivor" and most reality TV shows require those exposed to the production to sign restrictive nondisclosure agreements that threaten legal action if information about the show is revealed. The "Survivor" contract states leakers can be liable for damages of $5 million.
A message posted on Hantz's Facebook page last week cautioned to "never believe what you read." The veteran castaway will join fellow bad boy "Boston" Rob Mariano and 16 new contestants for "Survivor: Redemption Island," the 22nd season, premiering Feb. 16.
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