Last week, we reported that 48-year old Dan Spilo, a contestant on the current season of Survivor, was removed from the show by producers in the wake of allegations of inappropriate touching by fellow contestant Kellee Kim. Following last Wednesday’s episode, a title read closed out the episode with a statement: “Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player.” (People reports the incident in question involved Spilo touching a female producer’s thigh as he was getting into a boat, but Kim’s allegations go back to the first day of shooting.) This is the first time a Survivor player was removed in such a fashion.
On Tuesday, Spilo acknowledged his ouster for the first time in a statement to People.
“I am deeply sorry for how my actions affected Kellee during the taping of this season of Survivor. After apologizing at the tribal council when I first learned that Kellee still felt uncomfortable, I want to make sure I do so again, clearly and unambiguously. I truly regret that anyone was made to feel uncomfortable by my behavior. In my life, I have always tried to treat others with decency, integrity and kindness. I can only hope that my actions in the future can help me to make amends and show me to be the kind of father, husband, colleague and friend that I always aim to be.”
Kim didn’t buy the apology, tweeting yesterday, “It‘s curious that Dan has decided to publicly apologize to me—and just me—on the eve of the #Survivor39 finale for a series of inappropriate incidents that occurred months ago and impacted a number of women on set.” She continued, “I truly hope that some of this self reflection is real and that Dan changes his behavior going forward. For me, this statement only underscores the responsibility of CBS and Survivor to take action to prevent anything like this from ever happening again in the future.”
Well, CBS is finally listening. USA Today reports that, per a statement from the network, the show’s next season will include “guidelines on reporting issues regarding personal space and inappropriate behavior.” Other changes going forward include “an onsite contact who can deal with concerns; new anti-harassment, unconscious bias and sensitivity training; and a new rule that unwelcome touching, sexual harassment and biases are prohibited in the game.” These policies will reportedly be put in place for the network’s other reality programs as well.
Following the ouster of former head honcho Les Mooves, CBS is frantically trying to overhaul a culture that’s been exposed as a hotbed of sexual harassment and misconduct. Just last month, two writers quit CBS sitcom Carol’s Second Act after allegations of inappropriate touching against executive producer David Hunt led to what appears to be retaliation against the accusers.