At the end of the most recent episode of Survivor: Island of the Idols, it was revealed that producers had decided to remove contest Dan Spilo from the game after an “incident” that happened off-camera. And, this controversial season has led to a major change for the long-running reality show, as CBS will not air a live reunion show for the first time in 39 seasons.
In the last minutes of the episode that aired on December 11th, host Jeff Probst went to camp to tell the remaining contestant that producers had removed Spilo from the show and he would not be part of the jury. The 58-year-old didn’t go into detail about the decision, but CBS did put a title card on the screen for viewers at home.
— Variety (@Variety) December 12, 2019
“Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player,” read the statement.
According to People magazine, multiple sources claim the incident involved a member of the Survivor production team, and it took place after an immunity challenge when Spilo was getting into a boat for transport back to camp.
Allegedly, Spilo touched a female crew member’s leg, and at least one other contestant saw it happen. Spilo, a Hollywood agent, says that he simply lost his balance when he was trying to get into the boat, and the contact was an accident.
The show’s production team consulted with the legal team and decided to remove Spilo after not just the incident with a female producer, but after contestant Kellee Kim complained that Spilo had touched her inappropriately and violated her personal space.
Probst says that Spilo was not happy about his removal from the show, but he eventually “calmed down” and was “very respectful” when he left. After Kim was voted off the island, Spilo offered an apology.
“I work in an industry in which the #MeToo movement was formed and allowed — thank God — to blossom and become powerful and strong,” he said. “My personal feeling is if anyone ever felt for a second uncomfortable about anything I’ve ever done, I’m horrified about that and I’m terribly sorry.”
See this woman? Her tears, her words should’ve been enough to have Dan removed. When Kellee was sobbing in front of production, that should’ve been enough. It would be a totally different game if they removed Dan right away. #Survivor pic.twitter.com/HIwdjwlWjj
— Paula (@Paula01071004) December 12, 2019
Amid all of the controversy, the team behind Survivor has decided for the first time in 39 seasons not to air the reunion show live, and they will instead tape it hours in advance. They decided to make the change because of the sensitive topics that will come up, and because of security concerns.
After producers revealed they had removed Spilo from the show, Kim tweeted that his dismissal validated the concerns she raised from the beginning of the season, but she wishes no one else had to be subjected to this type of behavior.
Instead of the usual 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Pacific Time, the reunion will be taped between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesday, December 18th and air later that evening on CBS.