SPOILER ALERT: Details the season’s penultimate episode of “Survivor” are revealed, so spoilers will be spilled for fans who have yet to watch the episode.
Longtime fans of “Survivor” witnessed something this week they had never seen before when, for the first time ever, a player was ejected from the game due to behavioural issues.
As Entertainment Weekly reports, Dan Spilo was removed from the show following what’s vaguely referred to as “an off-camera incident,” described as “unacceptable behaviour.”
“Dan’s inappropriate touching has been an issue/story line all season long, beginning back in episode one when contestant Kellee Kim told Dan she was uncomfortable with the way he touched her,” EW notes. “When the behaviour continued even after Kelle spoke to Dan and asked him to stop, production stepped in on day 22 of the game and issued an official warning to the player about his behaviour. Fourteen days later, producers pulled Dan from the game for his latest transgression.”
On Twitter, Kim spoke out about Spilo’s removal from the show, writing, “While Dan’s dismissal has validated the concerns that I raised from the beginning of this season, I wish that no one else had to be subjected to this type of behavior.”
Kim added that she has received apologies from fellow castaways, but “I’ve continued to feel disappointed by how this pattern of behavior was allowed to occur for so long.”
EW spoke with “Survivor” host/exec producer Jeff Probst about what took place, although he admits he’s not able to reveal much.
“I’ve endeavoured to be as forthcoming as possible with you regarding everything that has happened this season. In this situation, out of respect for privacy and confidentiality, I can’t say anymore,” he explains.
“It has been an unprecedented season,” Probst admits. “Complex social issues were woven into the game in a way we have never seen before. 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. We all worked diligently throughout the entire process to make the right decisions and portray an accurate depiction of what took place. We have learned a lot and it will inform our process moving forward.”
According to Probst, Spilo was not thrilled to learn he was being sent packing. “When we first told Dan we were pulling him from the game, he was not happy,” Probst reveals. “We talked through everything for quite a while, and by the time he got on the boat to leave he had calmed down and was actually very respectful as he departed.”
Given how close Spilo’s ejection came to the end of the season, Probst admits the whole thing resulted in “a very complicated situation for the players. They’re on day 35 of 39. They’re very close to the end. They’re also in a state of ‘eyes on the prize.’ And because they did not receive more information for privacy reasons, they seemed to accept the news and moved on with the game.”
Meanwhile, Probst says fans of the show best buckle up for what promises to be a thrilling finale. “So many of the visits and tests with Sandra [Diaz-Twine] and Rob [Mariano] have resulted in game-changing moments back at camp,” he explains. “The finale is no different! There is one more visit to Island of the Idols, and it could change the entire game. I love finales, and this is a good one!”
Meanwhile, a source close to the show tells EW that this year’s live reunion show won’t be live, but will instead be prerecorded due to “the sensitive nature” of the conversations and “security concerns for the contestants and to make sure the players feel as comfortable and safe as possible while discussing what happened out on the island.”