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Survivor's Denise Martin is a Liar

Survivor's Denise Martin is a Liar

Survivor: China‘s lunch lady contestant Denise Martin may not have won the $1 million prize but her sob story about being demoted from lunch lady to janitor during Sunday’s finale earned her $50,000 on behalf of producer Mark Burnett.

Now, Nancy T. Lane, the superintendent of the Douglas Public Schools in Douglas, Mass., is saying that Denise lied to America. Apparently Denise had been promoted, not demoted, from lunch lady to janitor per her request.

“Yeah, I watched my own jaw drop when she said that, because it’s absolutely not true,” Lane told EW. “I can empathize, having been a working mother. It’s tough to work those night shifts. But she took the job; that’s the job she took leave from [to do Survivor]. If she wants to go back to the day shift, she should apply when one comes open… It’s difficult to grasp. We did nothing but encourage her. She took leave for almost three months, she was given additional times off when ever she needed it. Now she says this on national TV…. Douglas is a nice little town. Everybody was rooting for her, the local paper was bending over backwards with positive articles. Then to have it end this way. Talk about a letdown.”

Read the full press release from Lane about Denise inside…

Press Release: Mrs. Denise Martin
December 17, 2007
Douglas Public Schools

On the “Survivor China” television program that aired on December 16, 2007, Mrs. Denise Martin, an employee of the Douglas Public Schools, stated that she was demoted from her position as a cafeteria worker upon her return from taping the show. This statement is false. In fact, Mrs. Martin held a full-time position as a custodian prior to her participation in the series, and she returned to this same position upon her return from China. Mrs. Martin was granted – at her request – an unpaid leave of absence so that she could participate in the “Survivor” program. We were pleased and excited to support Denise, and have enthusiastically cheered her on throughout the duration of the show.

Although Mrs. Martin was a cafeteria employee prior to her selection as a contestant, she asked to be considered for a promotion to full-time custodian, and was promoted to this position on March 30, 2007. This promotion came with additional benefits and a higher salary. Following her leave, she then returned to this same position.

Regretfully, the Douglas Public School District was inaccurately portrayed as failing to be accommodating to an employee during what the District viewed as a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity. This is far from the case. On the contrary, we granted all requests made by Mrs. Martin so that she could participate in the “Survivor” series. Since Mrs. Martin was on an approved leave, her position was held open for her, and she returned to this same position upon her return from China. As a District, we make every effort to support our employees, and will continue to do so.

Nancy T. Lane
Superintendent of Schools

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