PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday said it was appalled that Survivor winner Richard Hatch was returned to prison for granting two unauthorized TV interviews.
Hatch had been serving out the end of his tax evasion prison term on home confinement, but was jailed Tuesday after giving several interviews — to NBC’s Today show, NBC affiliate WJAR-TV and the NBC-owned Access Hollywood.
His lawyer said the Bureau of Prisons told her Hatch was jailed because the agency had authorized only the Today interview, not the other two.
“It’s appalling to think that he has been sent to jail merely for speaking to the media about his own court case,” said Steven Brown of the ACLU’s Rhode Island chapter.
Brown said the First Amendment guarantees Hatch’s right to speak. Even if interviews can be restricted for safety reasons inside a prison’s walls, that shouldn’t be a concern once a person is living in a private home, Brown said.
A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Prisons did not immediately return a message left by The Associated Press on Thursday.
Hatch was taken to Barnstable County Jail in Massachusetts on Tuesday. A spokesman for the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on whether Hatch was still being held there Thursday afternoon.
Hatch was convicted in 2006 of failing to pay taxes on the $1 million he was awarded for winning the first season of the CBS reality TV program.