For the first time in 39 seasons on “Survivor,” a contestant has been ejected.
On Wednesday’s episode of “Survivor: Island of the Idols,” Dan Spilo was pulled from the competition by production for unacceptable behavior following an off-camera incident.
“A decision has been made, and Dan will not be returning to the game,” host Jeff Probst announced to the remaining castaways. “He won’t be coming back to camp, he won’t be on the jury. He’s gone.”
At the end of the episode, a title card read: “Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player.”
The exact reason for Spilo’s removal was not disclosed.
Spilo has stirred controversy on this season of the CBS reality show since day one, when fellow castaway Kellee Kim complained about his “inappropriate touching.”
Kim’s concerns boiled over on day 22 when Spilo’s behavior continued and producers intervened after Kim became emotional during an interview.
In an onscreen message, viewers learned that “producers met with all the players, both as a group and individually. They were cautioned about personal boundaries and reminded that producers are available to them at all times. Based on the outcome of those discussions, the game continued. In addition, producers met privately with Dan, at which time he was issued a warning for his behavior,” the text continued. “Producers continue to monitor the situation.”
Spilo, 48, a talent manager from Los Angeles, was ultimately ejected on day 36.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Kim shared her thoughts on the ousting.
“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,” the statement read. “CBS and ‘Survivor’ were on notice of Dan’s behavior from the very first days of the game. And, as ‘Survivor’ fans know, shortly after I spoke up on camera, I was voted off the show.”
She continued, “Since then, I’ve accepted genuine, heartfelt apologies from fellow castaways, but I’ve continued to feel disappointed by how this pattern of behavior was allowed to occur for so long. While I wish many things had gone differently, I’m glad that my decision to speak up made a difference.”
USA TODAY has reached out to CBS for comment.
After the episode aired, Probst, who also serves as the executive producer, told Entertainment Tonight that Spilo “was not happy” about being removed from the game.
“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,” he added.
Probst called this season “unprecedented.”
“Complex social issues were woven into the game in a way we have never seen before,” he said. “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.”
He continued: “While we still want to maintain the competitive aspect of the game, above all, we want to ensure that all players always feel safe and respected.”
Contributing: Erin Jensen