Infamous Survivor geek John Cochran has defended his controversial decision to switch tribal alliances, saying it was a considered move - not an "emotional freak out".

Cochran has been slammed for his last-minute vote change at a Survivor: South Pacific tribal council, eliminating Savaii team mate Keith Tollefson and effectively giving opposition tribe Upolu a numbers advantage.

In an earlier interview with, team mate Jim Rice said Cochran should go down as the "worst Survivor player in history" and said backstabbing five tribe mates ended any chance he had of taking home the reality show's US$1 million prize.

But Cochran said he decided to flip because didn't feel "a bond" with Savaii after days of being mistreated by his tribe mates.


"I can appreciate that it looks like this emotional freak out move (but) on the first day my name was being thrown around (for elimination) and I had a panic attack.

"My name was bought up at every single tribal council. There were always discussions about me at tribal council, and it wasn't flattering stuff.

"It made me more nervous, more on the outer and less part of the tribe."

The 24-year-old Harvard law student said reaction to his move had been "violent".

"I was aware it was a big move but it's been done before ... I think part of it is that people don't think it was a smart move, and people have very high expectations of me. I built myself up as a smart player.

"I was not expecting this violent reaction. On the internet, everybody hates me. I definitely read all of the (messages). On Twitter I sometimes respond, but not on the message boards.

Cochran, from Washington, admitted he'd like another shot at redeeming himself and improving his image with Survivor fans.

"It's nice to be someone who left their mark on the game. I didn't want to become this cartoon character that's known for sharing embarrassing stories, being viewed as annoying, being horrible at challenges and making a move considered to be the most cowardly in the game.

"I don't get a thrill out of that."

* Survivor screens on Four. We will interview every contestant after their elimination.

- Herald online