03/22/2012 at 09:00 PM EDT
He was deemed a "super villain" on Survivor: One World
, but Colton Cumbie prefers the term "evil queen."
Cumbie, 21, seemed poised to make it to the final three this season until a bacterial infection – originally believed to be appendicitis
– forced him out of the game.
Back home in Monroeville, Ala., Cumbie tells PEOPLE about receiving death threats, how he planned to betray a close ally and the illness that ended his Survivor
What has been the reaction to things you said on the show?
My mom has gotten calls in the middle of the night that I had been killed. She got emails saying, "You should kill yourself for having a child that way."
"Go kill yourself" is a phrase you threw around a lot on the show.
I also say, "I want to stab myself in the face," but you don't see me looking around camp for a knife. It may not be the most sensitive figure of speech but at the time, I wasn't thinking like that. You forget that 10 million people are going to watch this. It's like having a conversation with your friends. People say things to their friends that they wouldn't want anyone else to hear.
Would take back anything you said?
I wish I hadn't called [contestant Bill Posely] "ghetto trash." People said it had racial connotations but it had nothing to do with his race. It was more geared towards his financial status. I thought Bill was going to get to the end and pull the "I need the money" card.
How are you feeling?
I was diagnosed with a severe bacterial infection of the stomach and intestines. It was awful. I had to be treated by antibiotics. When I got home, I still wasn't over it and they still thought I had appendicitis. They were almost about to send me in to surgery but I did another round of antibiotics and it cleared up.
What would have been your next move if you stayed?
Alicia was next on my hit list. That surprises people but I knew she had a relationship with the girls and Christina didn't have a leg to stand on. If Alicia left, that [girls] alliance was shattered. My ideal final four would have been Jay, Troy, Kim and I.
Bill has said you thought it was okay to call people names because you were never bullied.
I've been very fortunate and protected because of who my family is. I was never really bullied. I have had people make comments about my sexuality and I'm like, "Really? You think you're better than me?"
The reason I said those things is I haven't been treated that way and I never had to put myself in anyone else's shoes until I saw myself on television. And didn't really care for what I saw.