Reality TV star-turned-pol in Ky. pushes for legal first cousin marriage, then claims error


A Kentucky pol who won the reality TV show “Survivor” raised eyebrows when he introduced legislation that would make it legal for people to have sex with their first cousins – and he later claimed the change was made by mistake.

Republican Rep. Nick Wilson went viral Tuesday after sponsoring House Bill 269, which removed “first cousins” from the list of relatives it is illegal for a person to have sex with, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

Other relatives that remained in the statute about incest in the state include parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings.

Wilson, who won the 37th season of the CBS show “Survivor: David vs. Goliath” in 2018, drew the attention of Eliza Orlins, a New York public defender who previously appeared as a contestant on “Survivor: Vanuatu” and “Survivor: Micronesia,” according to Newsweek.

Republican Kentucky Rep. Nick Wilson went viral after he introduced legislation that would make it legal for people to have sex with their first cousins — and later claimed it was a mistake. Nick Wilson/Facebook

She called the bill “truly insane” on social media, where she skewered the pol.

“Oh my God I’ve got some wild news…This news relates to David vs. Goliath winner of Survivor Nick Wilson, who then leveraged the fame he obtained from winning Survivor to run for Kentucky state legislator and got elected,” she said on X.

“Nick Wilson is not only supporting but has introduced a bill that would reclassify incest in the state of Kentucky to not include your own first cousin,” she said.

“Kentucky, like so many other places, is facing a lot of issues, and this is Nick’s top legislative priority,” Orlins said as she urged her followers to “reach out to anyone you know in Kentucky and tell them to flood his office [with phone calls] and make this story known.”

Rep. Nick Wilson claimed there was an “inadvertent” change” during the drafting process. Nick Wilson/Facebook

On Wednesday, Wilson took to Facebook to claim it was all a mistake.

“The purpose of the bill is to add ‘sexual contact’ to the incest statute. Currently, incest only applies in cases of intercourse. So sexual touching/groping by uncles, stepdads or anyone with a familial relationship is not included in incest,” he wrote.

“My bill makes that kind of sexual contact a Class D Felony, unless the victim is under the age of 12, then it increases the penalty to a Class C Felony,” Wilson continued.

“During the drafting process, there was an inadvertent change, which struck ‘first cousins’ from the list of relationships included under the incest statute, and I failed to add it back in,” he wrote.

The Kentucky state Capitol in Frankfort. TNS

“During today’s session, I will withdraw HB 269 and refile a bill with the ‘first cousin’ language intact. The fact that I was able to file a bill, catch the mistake, withdraw the bill and refile within a 24 hour period shows that we have a good system,” Wilson declared.

“I understand that I made a mistake, but I sincerely hope my mistake doesn’t hurt the chances of the corrected version of the bill. It is a good bill, and I hope it will get a second chance,” he added.

After winning the 2018 show, Wilson returned for the 40th season, which featured the winners from previous shows in 2020.

In November 2022, he ran unopposed for the 82nd District of the Kentucky House after Republican incumbent Regina Huff retired.

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