'Survivor': Jeff Probst, Kellee Kim address Dan Spilo's 'extremely inappropriate' behavior
"Survivor" contestants marooned on the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji also faced uncomfortable situations that are being challenged in the era of #MeToo.
In Wednesday's episode, player Kellee Kim voiced her discomfort with fellow contestant Dan Spilo. She described the Los Angeles talent manager as "extremely inappropriate" to fellow contestant Missy Byrd and complained he attempted to touch her face and rib cage. Byrd, too, criticized Spilo's "wandering" hands.
After Kim became emotional in an interview, a producer offered to intervene, but Kim declined.
Contestant Elizabeth Beisel told Kim she felt uncomfortable with Spilo's touching, though she acknowledged that if she could "play up" the dislike of Spilo to her advantage, she would.
In an onscreen message, viewers learned that "producers met with all the players, both as a group and individually. They were cautioned about personal boundaries and reminded that producers are available to them at all times. Based on the outcome of those discussions, the game continued. In addition, producers met privately with Dan, at which time he was issued a warning for his behavior," the text continued. "Producers continue to monitor the situation."
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"Survivor" host and executive producer Jeff Probst spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the episode, which centered on "the seismic shift that is taking place in our culture regarding how men and women relate to and respect each other," he said. "This is not unique to 'Survivor.' 'Survivor' is a microcosm for our real world. Situations just like this one are playing out in offices and bars and colleges across the country and the world.
"One of the things that makes this situation so powerful is that there isn't just one point of view. There is no consensus among the women," he added. "Each of the women involved has had their own interactions with Dan, and each of them processed it differently and for different reasons."
Probst also highlighted the opportunity each contestant has to vote a person off the island. "Tribal Council has always been the place where players are held accountable for their actions," he said. "In this situation, it can't be ignored that despite a lot of story, controversy and upset feelings swirling around him, Dan has yet to be voted out. That remains one of the most fascinating elements of this season."
Kim, in an unverified Twitter account, shared the level of discomfort she experienced watching the program.
"Hi everyone, I'm hurting and very sad watching this last episode too, but please try to be kind and understanding," she posted. "No one deserves threats or shaming, and we can talk about this in a way that we are all better for it #Survivor #Mentalhealth"
USA TODAY has reached out to Spilo for comment.
A CBS spokesperson issued a joint statement from the network and studio MGM.
"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."
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