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WEEKLY TELEVISION NEWS
New "Survivor" Cast Secrets
by Lia Haberman
Sep 2, 2003, 2:30 PM PT
It usually takes at least an episode before the Survivor castaways cause a ruckus--beef jerky or granola bars anyone?
Meet the first three cast members from the upcoming Survivor: Pearl Islands who're already creating headlines (that have nothing to do with cured meats): Christa Hastie, Ryan Shoulders and Jon Dalton.
Those dirt-diggers at the Smoking Gun Website have uncovered evidence of online drug postings and a DUI arrest that make former castaways look tame by comparison.
In an interesting twist, CBS tried to beat the muckrakers to the punch by including Christa's arrest record in her online bio (except that the minor bust turns out not to be the most interesting incident in her background).
According to the Eye network, the California blonde was busted on a misdemeanor while a student at the University of California, Irvine, for "disrupting an officer's ability to perform his duties." Hastie had hopped onto her car and refused to get off the hood while it was in the process of being towed.
Hastie reportedly copped a plea to the charge and was sentenced to a year's probation and five days of community service, and ordered to pay restitution.
But it's the 24-year-old's incriminating Web postings to online newsgroups devoted to illegal drug use that caught the Smoking Gun's attention. During 1998 and 1999 Christa Hilda Hastie reportedly posted messages to alt.drugs.hard and alt.drugs groups from her college email address.
In a June 1998 posting to the alt.drugs group, Hastie sent a message with the subject line "I want meth in LA or OC?" Her posting asked, "where I can hook up w/ some meth in Los Angeles or Orange County...and how and who do you know to ask about this s---?" There were no responses to her query about methamphetamine. According to the Smoking Gun, at the time of the posting, Hastie was living near UCI's campus in Orange County, about an hour's drive south of Los Angeles.
The same month, Hastie responded to a question about "alternatives to speed" with a recipe featuring aspirin, Vivarin (an over-the-counter stimulant) and ephedrine, a prescription weight loss pill. Hastie wrote, "that should work ok....hang in there, I understand :-)!"
In September 1998, when a fellow Web surfer named Phreex suggested the establishment of a first-ever "National Methamphetamine Week," Hastie replied enthusiastically. "I'll make the web site for this wonderful idea," wrote Hastie, who now works as a computer programmer. Hastie later offered to send Phreex "some really cute new pics taken with my digital camera." After he joked that those photos should include "NAKED CHRISTA, JELLO, and METH!," she responded, "Well send those rocks on over my way and I'll send you a thousand pics! That would be enough to make anybody orgasm..."
In a January 1999 post to alt.drugs, Hastie allegedly asks for "any good recommendations for getting the most out of your cocaine? I mean, can you take any pills, i.e. Vivarin, to keep your high for longer periods of time?" She also inquires where to purchase a "coke bong" near Los Angeles.
And it turns out Hastie's not the only one with a deviant Web trail.
Ryan Shoulders, the 23-year-old produce clerk from Tennessee, allegedly posted several messages in 1999 and 2000 to the alt.drug.psychedelics newsgroup. In response to a an August 1999 posting about the difficulty of scoring acid in Atlanta, Shoulders wrote, "Blah blah...Nashville is worse...I think they forgot what acid is here." Shoulders lives in Clarksville, about 45 miles from the state capital.
In a November 1999 posting, Shoulders, who reportedly goes by the online monikers TossSalad and Frog Muffin, asked for advice about sending drugs through the mail. "Is it possible to send gel tabs (windowpane acid) thru the mail?!," asked Shoulders. "How well does the post office check for things like this? Do they check at all? Should it be sent in a regular envelope wrapped up in something? Or should it be sent in a small package in something like a CD case or something?"
In May of 2000, Shoulders asked for "some tripping ideas" since "there are a few dead spots everytime our group trips (which is not often because it is very hard to find). Are there any games or activities anyone can suggest to fill in the dead spots where we are sitting around anxiously on the carpet trying to think of something to do?"
Finally, there's Dalton, a 29-year-old art consultant, who was busted last February by Los Angeles cops for driving under the influence--a charge not mentioned in his CBS bio. Dalton entered a no contest plea on March 14, 2002 to the DUI count, a misdemeanor, and a charge of driving without insurance. The Virginia native was then sentenced to two days in jail, fined $510 and placed on probation for three years.
While CBS spokesperson Colleen Sullivan refused to comment on any specific charges, she said the drug posting accusations were purely speculative. "There's no proof that these individuals made these postings," said Sullivan. " We conduct background checks, psychological tests and extensive physicals, which include a drug test. If they don't pass the drug test they don't participate and we're very comfortable with the 16 individuals that we've selected to participate in the show."
According to Sullivan, one "finalist" has been sent home because they failed the drug test during the casting process of Survivor. No word on which edition the dismissed druggie tried out for.
Survivor: Pearl Islands debuts September 18 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.