Getting better with time. Survivor is looking to make some changes behind-the-scenes following the controversial November 13 episode, in which castaway Kellee Kim accused Dan Spilo of inappropriate touching and revealed she felt uncomfortable. At the end of the episode, she was eliminated.
“This isn’t just one person,” Kellee, 29, said during an interview at the time. “It’s a pattern. It takes five people to be like, ‘Man, the way I’m feeling about this is actually real. It’s not in my head. I’m not overreacting to it.’ He’s literally done these things to five different women in this game. That sucks. That totally, totally sucks.”
Production broke the fourth wall during the discussion to tell Kellee that she had options and that she was not alone. “If there are issues to the point where things need to happen, come to me and I will make sure that stops,” the producer said. “Because I don’t want anyone feeling uncomfortable … It’s not OK.”
Following that conversation, the viewers learned that Dan, 48, was warned by production about his behavior and the cast was spoken to, both as a group and individually.
Going forward, things may be handled differently, host Jeff Probst revealed on Wednesday, November 20.
“It’s an unprecedented and unfortunate situation that is still very raw for a lot of the players and fans. We are all trying to learn from it,” Probst, 58, told Entertainment Weekly. “We will definitely be using the lessons learned from the Dan situation as a guide in how to handle similar situations in future seasons. We have already started discussing ideas for how to change things in the future.”
The situation was made worse when contestants Elizabeth Beisel and Missy Byrd later admitted that they made up their own interactions with Dan to get the target off of them. Meanwhile, castaway Janet Carbin thought everyone was voting out Dan, and although they were friends, she didn’t want any women to feel uncomfortable, so she voted for him to be sent home.
CBS and MGM released a statement following the controversial episode.
“In the episode broadcast last night, several female castaways discussed the behavior of a male castaway that made them uncomfortable. During the filming of this episode, producers spoke off-camera to all the contestants still in the game, both as a group and individually, to hear any concerns and advise about appropriate boundaries,” the statement read. “A formal warning was also given to the male castaway in question. On Survivor, producers provide the castaways a wide berth to play the game. At the same time, all castaways are monitored and supervised at all times. They have full access to producers and doctors, and the production will intervene in situations where warranted.”
Survivor airs on CBS Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.