Survivor Contestant Dan Spilo Was Uninvited from Live Finale After His Removal from Show
The controversial contestant has been banned from appearing in the show's traditional live reunion after allegedly touching a female producer
Every season, Survivor has a live finale in which all the contestants get together to rehash their experiences on the show. It’s usually a lighthearted affair: host Jeff Probst announces the winner, and then the cast discusses the season’s funny and dramatic moments.
But this season, things will be different.
The live finale will be pre-taped, and the subject matter will be much more serious, including the removal of contestant Dan Spilo for an off-camera incident in which he allegedly touched a female producer while getting into a boat.
It’s unclear how many of the contestants will attend the finale. Multiple sources connected with this season tell PEOPLE that several players are having second thoughts about attending.
One person who will decidedly not be at the finale: Spilo, who was informed by producers that he would not be welcome at the live show.
According to sources connected with the show, the decision to un-invite Spilo came after he was accused of inappropriately touching a female contestant earlier this season. During the controversial episode, contestant Kellee Kim expressed concern that Spilo had violated her personal space, even after she made multiple requests for him to stop.
Despite her concerns, no action was taken while Kim was in the game. She was voted out shortly after raising her concerns to other contestants. During the subsequent tribal council, Spilo apologized, saying, “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.”
After the episode aired, Spilo was told by the CBS legal department that he would not be permitted to appear at the finale.
The reasons behind Spilo’s ultimate ouster were not explicitly discussed on the show. At the end of Wednesday’s episode, the screen faded to black with the following text : “Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player.”
PEOPLE has spoken to multiple people involved with the show’s production, who confirmed that the incident in question — which involved a member of the show’s production team — happened after an immunity challenge as Spilo and other contestants were getting into a boat to transport them back to the camp.
At one point, Spilo allegedly touched the female crew member’s leg. According to multiple sources, he insisted that the contact was inadvertent and accidental as he lost his balance while trying to get into the boat. At least one of the remaining contestants witnessed the incident.
But the show’s production team wasn’t convinced that the contact was merely incidental. After consulting with the show’s legal team, producers removed him from the show.
Sources tell PEOPLE that Spilo vehemently disagreed with the decision to boot him from the game.
After Wednesday night’s episode aired, Kim released a statement on Twitter, explaining that “Dan’s dismissal has validated the concerns that I raised.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly published after Wednesday’s episode, Probst was asked to elaborate on the nature of the incident. He declined to give more details.
“The question is a fair and reasonable one,” Probst responded. “I’ve endeavored to be as forthcoming as possible with you regarding everything that has happened this season. In this situation, out of respect for privacy and confidentiality, I can’t say anymore.”
Neither CBS nor Spilo are providing additional comment at this time.
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