How ‘Survivor’ Plans to Deal With Sexual Harassment In the Future
Survivor has been rocked by a sexual harassment controversy during Season 39, Island of the Idols. Contestant Dan Spilo was officially removed from the show by the producers following incidents of inappropriate touching and feelings of discomfort as reported by contestants, and then a second incident involving a crew member. During all of this, Kellee Kim has been most active in speaking up about what happened with Spilo, given she seemed to receive the brunt of his transgressions.
Now, perhaps a little too late, Survivor and CBS have drafted new plans for dealing with these situations in the future.
Dan Spilo kicked off the show
Dan Spilo most notably made castaway Kellee Kim uncomfortable during Survivor: Island of the Idols. Kim was upfront with Spilo, asking him to refrain from touching her without asking, or giving her massages. Despite Kim’s request, Spilo continued his behavior.
Spilo was confronted by producers, who warned him that his behavior was out of line. The producers also told Kim that they would intervene more directly if need be. Kim said no, she’d take care of it herself.
Unfortunately, Spilo didn’t take the warning to heart. Spilo later touched a Survivor crew member’s leg during a boat right to the island without consent and was ultimately kicked off of the show as a result of his behavior.
The screen at the time read, “Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player.”
Jeff Probst told the castaways that “a decision has been made and Dan will not be returning to the game. He will not be coming back to camp. He’s gone.”
Pre-recording the finale
As a result of what went down with Dan Spilo, Survivor pre-recorded its finale for the first time in the show’s history.
EW reported that the goal of pre-recording was “to make sure the players feel as comfortable and safe as possible while discussing what happened out on the island.”
Essentially, the finale was pre-recorded due to the sensitive nature of what happened with Dan Spilo and his fellow castaways, as well as for possible security purposes.
New policies moving forward, working with Kellee Kim
Since the events with Dan Spilo, Survivor, CBS, and Jeff Probst have worked together with Kellee Kim to craft new policies for addressing similar scenarios in the future.
Kellee Kim tweeted, “This has been a hard season, but I’m proud that the change I fought for is happening. I’ve been inspired & overwhelmed by the people who have reached out to support me & share their stories. Thank you @timesupldf @debrakatzKMB & everyone who has been in this with me.”
In order to better prepare castaways for incidents like this, Survivor will include an on-site professional for confidential incident reports. They will also require anti-harassment training, and will implement a rule that disallows unwanted physical contact. There will also be guidelines on personal space and inappropriate behavior.
The producers have said they are, “reviewing all elements of the show to further support appropriate interaction, including how the players live during, as well as after they are eliminated from, the competition.”