After 39 seasons, CBS’s tentpole franchise Survivor has ejected its first cast member from the series. At the end of the December 11 episode of Survivor: Island of Idols, host Jeff Probst announced unexpectedly to members of the Lumuwaku Camp that player Dan Spilo would not be returning to the game. “I just spoke privately with Dan and I wanted to update you guys,” said Probst, “A decision has been made and Dan will not be returning to the game. He won’t be coming back to camp. He won’t be on jury. He’s gone.” The episode ended with a card which read: “Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off camera and did not involve another player.” According to Deadline, the incident was believed to involve physical contact between the aforementioned Dan and a member of the show’s production team.
The Dan that Probst speaks of is Dan Spilo, a 48-year-old Hollywood agent and executive producer of NBC’s Sunnyside. Spilo’s tenure as a survivor contestant was embroiled in controversy before his ouster from the series. During the season, Spilo was accused on air of unwanted touching by Kellee Kim, a fellow female contestant. This central accusation led to other accusations of unwanted touching from Spilo by female contestants Missy Byrd and Elizabeth Beisel. Byrd and Beisel, however, eventually retracted their statements about Dan, saying that their claims were gameplay-related and that they were never made to feel uncomfortable by Spilo. Kim held fast to her claims against Spilo, and was subsequently sent home that week while Spilo remained in the game.
After the first incident went down, Spilo released the following statement:
“I work in an industry in which the #MeToo movement was formed and allowed — thank God — to blossom and become powerful and strong. 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.”
Spilo declined to comment after being ejected from the game. Kim, the first person to speak out about Spilo’s inappropriate behavior, released a statement on her instagram about Dan’s departure from the series. “Tonight, on CBS’ Survivor, Dan Spilo was kicked off for, once again, inappropriate touching,” Kim said, “While Dan’s dismissal has validated the concerns that I raised from the beginning of the season, I wish that no one had been subjected to this type of behavior.”