Saturday, February 06, 2010

Richard Hatch

Richard Hatch is a celebrity unlike any other celebrity I have profiled here. He became famous as the $1,000,000 grand prize winner of the first installment of the hit reality show, Survivor back in 2000. He went from parading around discussing his Survivor victory and hosting a $300k+ radio show host gig after Survivor to serving a prison sentence for tax evasion and spouting conspiracy theories to deflect criticism from himself.

Hatch was born on April 8, 1961 in Rhode Island. Hatch is an openly gay man and searched for direction for many years as a young adult. He spent five years in the United States Army, two of which were at the United States Military Academy where he studied management. However, Hatch dropped out of the Military Academy after two years. Hatch also spent some time studying Oceanography and Marine Biology at Florida Institute of Technology, and General Studies at George Mason University, and a Masters' program in Education and Counseling at Providence College in Rhode Island.

Hatch adopted a son named Christopher because his gay lover was incapable of bearing his children. However, Hatch experienced some parental difficulties and was arrested and charged with child abuse in April 2000, after his son alleged to a school official that his father had pushed his face in the ground while doing push-ups. The charges were dropped a month later after a judge ruled that Hatch's son had exaggerated the details of the incident.

Back in 2000, Hatch was working as a corporate trainer when he found out that a new reality show was auditioning contestants by asking them to send in videotapes of themselves showing off their personalities. Hatch sent in a tape and was selected to appear on the first installment of the hugely successful Survivor reality show. The first season was entitled, Survivor: Borneo.

In Survivor: Borneo, Hatch was marooned with 15 other contestants on the Borneo island in Malaysia. The 16 contestants were initially divided into tribes of 8 contestants and one contestant was voted out at the end of each episode. The contestants generally had to fend for themselves in large part and Hatch was a valuable member of his team because he was physically strong, a good swimmer and fisher, and showed leadership skills. He famously formed a secret alliance with several other of his teammates, including the crusty former Navy SEAL, Rudy Boesch.

Although Hatch was a strong contestant, he did annoy the other contestants by periodically parading around the island naked with his balls and ass hanging out for the world to see. Hatch would occasionally sit naked on logs at his tribe camp, disturbing other contestants and rendering the logs unusable and reeking of the smell of ass. About his nakedness, Hatch said, "It's funny when I hear, 'How come you're naked all the time.' I'm naked less then 1% of the time. I'd like to be naked all the time. That would be smarter in this 100 degree weather."

One of his tribe mates, Sean Kenniff, assumed that Hatch was walking around naked because he wanted to hook up with some of the other male contestants or possibly even the camera crew. Kenniff said, "If there's any horny gay men out there that want a horny guy in return, I know one."

Hatch celebrated his 39th birthday while on the island by stripping naked. Hatch said, "I'm 39 today and I had intended for quite a long time to celebrate my birthday naked."

Another tribe mate, Jenna Lewis, said, "It felt awkward sitting next to a naked gay man. If he had something to cover the butt crack area, I'd be cool with that."

Rudy Boesch said, "When I go home, if my wife asks me, 'Who was with you," I'll say the queer who ran around bare-ass half the time." Despite his disapproval of Hatch's homosexual lifestyle and nakedness on the island, Hatch said, "Me and Richard got to be pretty good friends; not in a homosexual way, that's for sure."

Hatch's secret alliance proved to be successful as he was one of the last two contestants on the show. Hatch eventually won the $1 million grand prize in a close vote over the second place contestant, Kelly Wiglesworth.

Survivor: Borea aired for 13 weeks between the end of May and August 2000 and proved to be a tremendous success. The finale of Survivor was reported watched by 51.7 million viewers, making it the second-highest viewership of any American television episode during the first decade of the 21st century, exceeded only by the finale of Friends.

The success of Survivor: Borneo made Hatch a big star in 2000 and he was showered with offers. Hatch accepted an offer to co-host "Wilde Show," a Boston morning radio show for a salary of over $320k. Hatch also wrote the motivation book, "101 Survival Secrets: How to Win $1,000,000, Lose 100 Pounds, and Just Plain Live Happily" that was published in October 2000.

Hatch was having the time of his life as a big star during the early years of this decade. He even appeared on the Australian version of the popular game show, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," where he famously answered the $500 question incorrectly and left with no prize money.

However, Hatch's massive ego and hubris eventually led him astray as Hatch thought that he was invincible. Hatch never paid any taxes on the Survivor grand prize or the $320k+ that he received from his radio co-host gig. The IRS eventually came after he for unpaid taxes in 2005, and stated Hatch would be charged with filing a false tax return. Hatch initially agreed to plea guilty in exchange for a lenient sentence. However, Hatch withdrew from the arrangement, claiming that CBS had arranged to pay his taxes before awarding him prize money back in 2000.

Hatch's withdrawal from the plea agreement apparently pissed off the IRS, as they aggressively pursed their case against him. Hatch was indicted in 10-count indictment for failing to report income from Survivor and his radio show, as well as additional charges that he failed to report rental income from properties he owned, failed to declare an automobile he won on Survivor, used money as personal income that was paid to a charity organization he had set up, and submitted false tax statements.

A jury found Hatch guilty of tax evasion, although he was acquitted of seven bank, mail and wire fraud charges. On May 16, 2006 Hatch was sentenced to 51 months in prison, plus three years of supervised release after serving his sentence and began serving his sentence immediately. I wonder whether Hatch walked around naked throughout the prison like he did on Survivor. If so, one has to wonder whether his sphincter "survived" his prison sentence. Hatch served nearly a full 3 years in prison until being released on Thursday, May 14, 2009 to serve a period of home confinement.

On August 18, 2009, he was re-arrested and taken into federal custody for granting two supposedly unauthorized interviews with Access Hollywood and Rhode Island NBC affiliate WJAR. During the interviews, Hatch mentioned that he was broke and bitter about his predicament. Prisoners under house arrest are required to get permission from the federal Bureau of Prisons before any media contact. Hatch remained in prison until October 16, 2009 when he was released.

Notwithstanding the various felonies that Hatch committed, he maintains that he was prosecuted for committing his various felonies because "he is gay."

Richard Hatch rose from obscurity to be one of the most discussed celebrities in 2000 trough his cunning strategies that he implemented in his appearance on the smash hit Survivor: Borneo. However, Hatch quickly lost all of his money and the good will he had earned by evading taxes and then landing in prison for several years after foolishly spurning a plea agreement with the IRS. Hatch's arrogance and rapid fall from grace show that there can be no doubt that Richard Hatch is one washed-up celebrity!

*** Update - April 10, 2011 ***

Richard Hatch recently appeared on Celebrity Apprentice. Hatch made it through the fifth week before being "fired" after failing to sell artwork during a competition on the show.

Hatch was also sent back to prison for another nine months in March 2011 for tax evasion. Hatch reportedly still owes that IRS $2 million in taxes and penalties. Hatch is also being pursed by Malaysian authorities for failing to pay taxes on the $1 million he won in 2000 on Survivor. Hatch has been all but begging someone to give him the money to pay off Malaysian authorities!