“Survivor: Island of the Idols” on Wednesday ejected a contestant, a first for the series, who earlier this season was accused of inappropriate touching, following an undisclosed off-camera "incident."
Audience members learned that 48-year-old Dan Spilo, a Hollywood talent agent, was removed from CBS’s long-running game show when the most recent episode faded to black.
“Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player,” read the statement on screen.
It is the first time in 39 seasons that the show had to remove a player accused of bad behavior, Entertainment Weekly noted. The other contestants were reportedly not informed of the exact nature of Spilo’s abrupt dismissal.
In an interview with the magazine, host Jeff Probst declined to elaborate on what happened.
“The question is a fair and reasonable one. I’ve endeavored to be as forthcoming as possible with you regarding everything that has happened this season,” Probst said. “In this situation, out of respect for privacy and confidentiality, I can’t say anymore."
He added that Spilo was initially “not happy” when he was notified by officials that he was leaving the island.
“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,” Probst said.
Spilo was caught up in controversy earlier in the season after a contestant accused him of “inappropriate touching.”
Participant Kellee Kim said through tears that Spilo was violating her personal space, even after she had asked him to stop. Kim brought the issues up with producers and they handled the issue off-camera, resulting in Spilo receiving an official warning, People magazine reported.
Other contestants, Missy Byrd and Elizabeth Beisel, initially said that they also had uncomfortable encounters with Spilo but later admitted that they were exaggerating their claims to get him kicked out of the competition.
Spilo apologized during the episode’s "tribal council," telling his fellow contestants that he works in a “high-wire industry” and most of his clients are women.
“I work in an industry in which the Me Too 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 said.
Kim was ultimately voted off the show and in a Wednesday statement said she has since accepted the “genuine, heartfelt apologies from fellow castaways” but was disappointed by how long Spilo’s “pattern of behavior” occurred.
“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,” she wrote.
Probst told Entertainment Weekly that the unfolding events resulted in a “unprecedented season.”
“Complex social issues were woven into the game in a way we have never seen before. 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,” the host said. “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.”