The season of “Survivor: Island of the Idols” has finally ended after a turbulent and scandal-filled run.
However, the #MeToo controversy that engulfed the long-running reality competition will continue to reverberate into future seasons, with the network planning to implement new policies and procedures to improve safety on set. The controversy led to the expulsion of a contestant and criticism of CBS and the producers’ handling of the situation.
The 39th winner of “Survivor” was announced on the reunion special that night in Los Angeles, which brought the contestants back together after the finals to discuss the experience. However, CBS pre-taped this season’s reunion, which usually airs live, breaking a decades-long tradition due to sensitivity issues.
On “Island of the Idols,” defying convention was a recurring subject. The show frequently broke the fourth wall to address various #MeToo situations and, for the first time, eliminated a competitor for misconduct prior to the final vote. The focus of attention during the reunion was on Kellee Kim, a Costa Mesa MBA student who originally voiced her concerns about fellow contestant Dan Spilo touching other young female players improperly in the season premiere.
The first time he had done so, either publicly or privately, since Kim spoke up, host and executive producer Jeff Probst apologized to Kim immediately after he delivered the final votes in the studio.
Probst remarked, “I want to say to you before we start, you were right. “You had a good point to make. You had every right to speak up and speak the truth. I also want to express my regret for your suffering. You weren’t worthy of it, and you didn’t ask for it.
He then invited a visibly anxious Kim to express her sentiments and any other worries she might have about the course of the season’s events. Kim added that she felt obligated to act honorably toward herself and other sexual assault survivors while fighting back tears.
After the reunion recording on Wednesday, Kim spoke to The Times and said, “The last seven, nine, whatever many months it’s been, it’s been extremely difficult and hard, and what that apology meant wasn’t just — it’s not about right or wrong, it was about being heard, seen, and believed.” “Having experienced something similar, that sensation is so very essential and strong.”
By the middle of the season, Kim’s sad confessional and additional castaways’ claims of Spilo’s non-consensual touching, which were supported by island footage, prompted producers to intervene, warning Spilo and publishing a public statement outlining how the problem was handled. Four episodes later, following an unnamed off-camera altercation that did not involve a participant, the producers eliminated Spilo from the game.
“That apology was about being seen, heard, and believed, not about right or wrong,” the speaker said.
One of the most upsetting aspects of the whole event, according to Kim, was that Dan was still permitted to play after I spoke out. “Once more, it speaks to the notion of not being understood or trusted. My voice was insufficient.
Although Spilo was not there for the reunion episode, the Hollywood talent agent did express a formal apologies to Kim the day before the show’s conclusion.
In a statement given to People magazine, Spilo said, “I am profoundly sorry for how my actions affected Kellee during the taping of this season of Survivor. “I want to make sure I apologize again, clearly and explicitly, just like I did when I initially realized that Kellee still felt uncomfortable at the tribal council.
At Probst’s prompting, Spilo remarked, “If anyone ever felt, even slightly, uncomfortable with anything I’ve ever done, I’m horrified about that, and I’m really sorry,” during the tribal council.
In the apology released on Tuesday, Spilo reiterated, “I really sorry that my behavior may have caused anyone to feel uneasy.” “Throughout my life, I have made an effort to treat people decently, honestly, and kindly. I can only hope that my future behavior will allow me to atone and prove that I am the type of husband, parent, coworker, and friend that I always strive to be.
On Twitter, where she has continued to voice her concerns and experiences with the show, Kim responded by posting her own message, expressing displeasure that Spilo had not apologized to those who had also been harmed by his actions.
On the eve of the #Survivor39 finale, she tweeted on Tuesday, “It’s interesting that Dan has decided to publicly apologize to me — and just me — for a series of inappropriate acts that occurred months ago and impacted a lot of women on set. “In my opinion, this statement simply emphasizes the need for CBS and Survivor to act to stop something similar from ever happening again.”
Here’s the Tweet by Kellee Kim
Among the many public apologies Kim has received since leaving the game are those from Probst and Spilo as well as from other contestants Missy Byrd and Elizabeth Beisel, who regret inflating their own feelings about Spilo in order to advance in the competition and eliminate Kim. Byrd and Beisel received criticism for the dubious action on social media from some who thought the pair went too far with the show’s slogan, “outwit, outplay, outlast.”
During his one-on-one with Kim during the reunion, Probst stated of Byrd and Beisel, “They didn’t ask for this either. “None of you requested this, people. Your voice ought to have sufficed.
Probst has publicly accepted responsibility for what transpired behind the scenes, but Kim claims she never got an apology from the show’s host or anybody else on the production staff until Wednesday’s reunion episode was taped.
She stated that there was nothing and continued, “The thing that has been painful about this scenario is that everything has taken a tremendously long time, and I think that’s why these reforms are so necessary.”
Shortly after Spilo revealed his open letter to Kim, CBS published a list of new rules and regulations that “Survivor” pledges to follow going forward. Kim claimed that these regulations were put in place at her request.
Kim stated, “I sent a letter. “Asking for my voice to be heard… and finally asking for these changes we made has been my experience over the last seven, nine months — actually, since we got back. There must be a change. They must be distinctive.
“We’ve been considering some of these things for months, but certainly Ms. Kim’s experience on the program helped define the new controls we’re putting in place,” a CBS spokesman said in a statement in response.
The suggested actions include adding “another on-site professional to provide a confidential means of reporting any concerns,” changing preproduction orientation to include “new anti-harassment, unconscious bias, and sensitivity training for cast, producers, and production crew,” enforcing a new rule that “states unwelcome physical contact, sexual harassment, and impermissible biases cannot be brought into the competition and will not be permitted as part of gameplay,” and partnering with organizations that support the proposed actions.
According to Kim, “I didn’t have those mechanisms in place to know where to turn, how to make things happen, where to ask for support, or any of those things — or even seek help when I didn’t know I needed it.” “I now hope that future individuals, players, crew, or whoever it may be, will have the tools to deal with and cope with that.”
Kim is optimistic that her decision to speak up will have an impact as the 40th season of the show approaches. The procedures and regulations are currently just words on a piece of paper, she added, “without the will and the heart to change and accept responsibility.”