For the first time in its 19-year history, CBS’s reality competition mainstay Survivor has directly removed one of its players from contention, with contestant Dan Spilo booted from the show over claims of sexual misconduct. Spilo—who was at the center of a controversy earlier this season, in which fellow contestant Kellee Kim accused him of inappropriately touching her and other female members of the cast—was removed from the show by the producers, rather than through informal voting, which has happened when controversies erupted on the series before. Spilo was issued a warning for his behavior earlier this season.
No one involved in the show’s production—including host Jeff Probst, who gave a tight-lipped interview to Entertainment Weekly tonight—has detailed exactly what Spiro’s latest accused action was. Tonight’s episode ended with a title card stating, “Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player.” When Probst was asked about the incident, he cited privacy concerns and stated only that “With our contestants’ welfare at the forefront, we have spent a lot of time discussing every layer of the situation with human resources, diversity and inclusion representatives, show therapists, lawyers, publicists, and standards and practices.” Probst also noted that Spilo was initially angered at the news of his ouster, but eventually accepted that he was being removed from the series.
The incident happened 35 days into the 39-day season, with Probst approaching the 5 remaining cast members to inform them of the news. Spilo will not be allowed to participate on this season’s jury, which votes on who will ultimately receive the series’ million-dollar prize.