'Survivor' Standoff: But Who Wins?

06/26/2001 at 01:30 PM EDT

Original "Survivor" contestant Stacey Stillman, 38, who was the third to leave the show last summer, and the TV series production company involved in some current litigation with her each claimed victory in a judge's tentative ruling on Monday, reports the Associated Press. Stillman, a San Francisco attorney who alleges the CBS reality show was rigged against her, cannot be sued for breach of contract because of her claims, said L.A. Superior Court Judge Ralph Dau. But the jurist did indicate that his official ruling would allow the SEG production company to proceed with its defamation claim against Stillman. Dau also said that a confidentiality clause in the agreement between Stillman and the show's producer wasn't undermined because Stillman made her comments after the first season of "Survivor" had aired. "I'm elated," said Stillman. "I'm just thrilled that the judge has ruled I can't be sued for speaking truthfully about illegal activities." Andy White, a lawyer representing producer SEG (formerly Survivor Entertainment Group) termed Monday's ruling "a mixed bag" but praised Dau's apparent decision to let the defamation action against Stillman proceed. Meanwhile, on the set of the third version of "Survivor" now preparing to shoot in Kenya, controversy is also brewing. The East African Standard newspaper reports that 20 square kilometers of the Shaba National Reserve have been cleared to make way for sets and accommodations, a move that has "destroyed the environment and scared away wild animals."

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