Survivor Contestants Under Fire For Mishandling Misconduct Accusations

Photo: Courtesy of CBS.
A contestant on Survivor: Island of the Idols was accused of misconduct by another player, leading to producers on the series sitting down with the entire cast to discuss boundaries. However, some are saying the series is mishandling this #MeToo situation. 
On Wednesday’s episode, two separate Survivor tribes merged, leading to conflict. Dan Spilo was called out by Kellee Kim for again touching her inappropriately, something that Kim had accused him of previously, in the premiere episode of this season.  
In a confessional, Kim expressed how uncomfortable Spilo’s behavior made her feel. 
“This isn’t just one person,” Kim said. “It’s a fucking pattern. It’s a pattern. It takes five people to be like, man, the way I’m feeling about this is actually real. It’s not in my head. I’m not overreacting to it. He’s literally done these things to five different women in this game. That sucks. That totally, totally sucks.”
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In a rare move on Survivor, a producer talked back to Kim in the confessional, asking if she was okay. 
“If there are issues to the point where things need to happen, come to me and I will make sure that stops,” the producer said from off-camera. 
Producers on the show later met with the players, individually and as a group, according to a title card that appeared in the episode. 
“[The players] 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. Producers continue to monitor the situation.”
Host Jeff Probst shared in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that he reported Spilo’s actions to CBS, which led to a sit-down with the reality contestant. 
“When we met privately with Dan, we told him that his actions were making some of the women uncomfortable and reminded him that personal boundaries must be respected at all times,” Probst told Entertainment Weekly. “We also informed him this was an official warning.”
In a statement to Refinery29, a spokesperson for CBS said: 
“In the episode broadcast last night, several female castaways discussed the behavior of a male castaway that made them uncomfortable. During the filming of this episode, producers spoke off-camera to all the contestants still in the game, both as a group and individually, to hear any concerns and advise about appropriate boundaries. A formal warning was also given to the male castaway in question. On Survivor, producers provide the castaways a wide berth to play the game.  At the same time, all castaways are monitored and supervised at all times. They have full access to producers and doctors, and the production will intervene in situations where warranted.”
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Kim’s accusation, however, led some players to use her to strategize in the game. Missy Byrd and Elizabeth Beisel crafted a story about Beisel also feeling uncomfortable around Spilo, in hopes that the tribe would vote him out of the game. Beisel, however, shared in her own confessional that she did not feel uncomfortable around Spilo or take issue with his behavior. 
Many Survivor fans saw the move as callous, as Kim expressed genuine concern over Spilo’s behavior. Janet Carbin, who voted for Spilo at the tribal council after the women’s accusations, was so upset to learn of the fabrications she considered leaving the show. On Twitter, fans reacted negatively to Beisel and Byrd using accusations of misconduct as part of their game strategy and accused Survivor producers of not stepping in. They praised Carbin for standing up for what she believed to be right.
In his EW interview, Probst defended the actions of Beisel and Byrd, who were both vying for the $1 million prize. At the first tribal council, Kim was ultimately voted out of the game, making matters worse. 

“[Elizabeth] hadn’t spent time with Kellee, so she didn’t have any insight into how Kellee was feeling. So, from her point of view, Elizabeth didn’t see any issue in going along with the Dan story. Perhaps if she understood the impact Dan was having on Kellee, she might have made a very different choice,” Probst explained to EW.
On her Twitter account, Kim expressed her disappointment at the episode. 
“Hi everyone, I'm hurting and very sad watching this last episode too, but please try to be kind and understanding,” she wrote. “No one deserves threats or shaming, and we can talk about this in a way that we are all better for it.” 
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