The long-running reality show is making some changes after ejecting a contestant for improperly touching women

By Steve Helling
December 17, 2019 10:22 PM
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CBS and Survivor are speaking out on the controversy surrounding contestant Dan Spilo, who was removed from the game after allegations of improperly touching a producer.

In the statement, the network claims that they acted responsibly in the production of the show.

“Season 39 of “Survivor” has been unprecedented for all of us, with important social issues and inappropriate individual behavior intersecting with game play in complex ways that we’ve never seen before,” the statement reads. “During the course of the production, we listened to the players intently, investigated responsibly and responded accordingly, including taking the unprecedented step of removing a player from the game.”

“At the same time, we are responsible for the final outcome of this season,” the statement continues. “We recognize there are things we could have done differently, and we are determined to do better going forward…We will take the important lessons we learned from this season and adopt new protocols and procedures for future seasons, to ensure that the events that occurred this season are not repeated.”

The show says that in future seasons, they will add an on-site professional to talk to players about the concerns. Contestants will be able to report issues to the professional, who will address their concerns apart from the game.

Additionally, cast members will go through anti-harassment, unconscious bias and sensitivity training on location.

According to the statement, the rules for Survivor will change.

Dan Spilo
Credit: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment

“A new rule will be implemented stating unwelcome physical contact, sexual harassment and impermissible biases cannot be brought into the competition and will not be permitted as part of gameplay. This will be covered in the cast orientation for each season, along with clear instructions on how to report violations.”

Spilo, a 48-year-old Hollywood agent, was removed from the game on day 36 after an incident in which he allegedly touched a female producer’s thigh as he was getting into a transport boat — weeks after he was accused of inappropriately touching contestant Kellee Kim.

“I am deeply sorry for how my actions affected Kellee during the taping of this season of Survivor,” Spilo wrote in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE. “After apologizing at the tribal council when I first learned that Kellee still felt uncomfortable, I want to make sure I do so again, clearly and unambiguously.”

“I truly regret that anyone was made to feel uncomfortable by my behavior,” Spilo continues. “In my life, I have always tried to treat others with decency, integrity and kindness. I can only hope that my actions in the future can help me to make amends and show me to be the kind of father, husband, colleague and friend that I always aim to be.”

Kellee Kim, Dan Spilo
Kellee Kim and Dan Spilo
| Credit: Robert Voets/CBS (2)

The network says that the changes to Survivor will have wide-ranging effects on all their shows.

“CBS Entertainment will develop appropriate enhanced policies and procedures equivalent to the new Survivor measures and adapt them for the network’s other reality programming going forward.”

The season finale of Survivor airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.