‘Survivor 39′ Contestants’ Version of Events Surrounding Dan Spilo Controversy Differ From Jeff Probst’s
During Survivor: Island of the Idols Episode 8, MBA student Kellee Kim broke down after realizing she was not the only female who felt uncomfortable around talent manager Dan Spilo.
A producer then broke the fourth wall and reminded her she can talk to them, and they’ll take action. Then, production informed viewers that they met with everyone as a group and individually to remind them about personal boundaries. “Based on the outcome of those discussions, the game continued.”
However, contestants have come out since the show aired and negated the version of events that production and host Jeff Probst said happened.
What ‘Survivor 39’ Jeff Probst said happened in the production meeting
Probst talked to The Hollywood Reporter after the episode aired and described what happened in the production meeting. According to the showrunner, the crew had a meeting with everyone together and “reminded them about personal boundaries.”
He claimed the discussion “covered everything” from out-of-line jokes to even innocently touching someone’s face. Production then met with the players individually, and Probst said that several competitors knew the discussion surrounded Spilo’s behavior.
Those same players said they didn’t need any intervention, so production gave an official warning to Spilo, and they continued the game.
‘Survivor 39’ contestants said they were confused about production meeting
In an interview with Mike Bloom, Aaron Meredith explained production spoke with him right before an immunity challenge and reminded him to tell them if he doesn’t feel safe.
Meredith said it seemed “very out of the blue” and didn’t know if it was customary. He also noted that “it was a very vague blanket statement” and never indicated that anyone had issues with another player.
According to Missy Byrd, she was “in game mode” and “focused on the upcoming challenge,” but thought production was only checking in to make sure everything was okay. She also did not connect the meeting to Kim’s issues with Spilo.
Jeff Probst and ‘Survivor 39’ contestant contradict each other over Tribal Council
Meredith and Byrd both said they made bad decisions, Byrd exacerbated the claims to send Kim home, and Meredith made inappropriate remarks at Tribal Council because the production meetings weren’t specific.
Byrd explained that she did not know that production spoke to Kim or warned Spilo. At the time, she only knew Spilo made Kim uncomfortable and that Kim wanted Byrd off the island.
Therefore, the veteran’s goal was to make Kim want to eliminate someone else more than Byrd. She apologized for exaggerated the claims against Spilo and admitted she didn’t understand the extent of his behavior.
During Tribal Council, Spilo addressed Kim and spoke about his point of view while the MBA student sat silently in the jury. Probst claimed production “consulted” with Kim and decided she would not break the traditional rules and speak during Tribal Council.
He also said he talked to Kim after her elimination “to discuss the process.” However, in an interview with EW, Kim claimed she only spoke with Probst after the next elimination and never knew the nature of Tribal Council beforehand.
Even though some contestants and production don’t exactly agree on what happened behind the scenes during Episode 8, it was an unfortunate situation they all say was a learning experience. Watch Survivor: Island of the Idols on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.