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'Survivor' lunch lady to fork over

The also-ran was given $50,000 after tale of being demoted. She apologizes and says the money goes to charity.

December 20, 2007|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — Denise Martin, who gained fame as the lunch lady on CBS' reality show "Survivor: China," is donating the $50,000 she received from producer Mark Burnett to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Martin told viewers on Sunday night's live finale that she'd been demoted to janitor at a school in Douglas, Mass., after finishing fourth on the show. After hearing her story, Burnett surprised Martin with the money to help get her life back.

On Tuesday, Martin acknowledged on CBS' "The Early Show" that she'd been promoted to custodian, at her own request, before the competition began.

"It was not my intention to be misleading," Martin, 40, said on the broadcast. "I'm sorry, and I apologize to everybody."

She didn't say then if she would keep the money, but in a statement issued later by the network, she said she took "full responsibility" for her actions.

"I do not feel comfortable about accepting the $50,000. I would instead ask that it be donated to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation," the statement said. "Please accept my apology. I would also like to thank all the people who have supported me through this experience."

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