There has been 39 seasons aired of the iconic and rather definitive reality competition TV series “Survivor,” ever since it premiered on CBS back in the year 2000. Based on a TV show originally aired in Sweden, with executive producers Charlie Parsons, Mark Burnett and Jeff Probst, who also serves as longtime host, “Survivor” has put teams of “castaway” contestants in numerous exotic locations around the world to compete against each other for a million dollars and “Sole Survivor” title. Players are eliminated per episode by votes from their teammates, and on occasion a player has been evacuated after suffering serious physical injuries on location.
But on the 12th episode of the current 39 season of “Survivor,” subtitled “Island of the Idols,” a castaway was for the first time ejected from the competition by the production unit, without a tribal council vote or a case of injury. Rather, as USA Today tells it, castaway Dan Spilo was removed from the game after repeat violation of a warning he received earlier in the season for “inappropriate touching.” The episode, which aired Wednesday, December 11, saw host Jeff Probst explain to the remaining castaways at tribal council that Spilo has been ejected.
Probst explained that the show’s production has made a decision to remove Spilo, age 48 and a Los Angeles talent manager. “Dan will not be returning to the game,” he said. “He won’t be coming back to camp, he won’t be on the jury. He’s gone.” No elaboration had been made regarding the specific offense Spilo committed, and an episode card was flashed at the end of the episode stating that “another incident” involving the castaway was reported, though no player was involved and the event happened off-screen. But castaway Kellee Kim might breathe a little easier with Spilo away.
Dan Spilo caught negative reactions from his fellow contestants, the production team, and the “Survivor: Island of the Idols” viewing audience when Kim complained during a confessional interview segment that he was touching her inappropriately since Day 1 of the competition. The harassment allegedly continued until on Day 22 (part of episode 8) Kim finally broke down in confessional. Said episode also featured a screen card explaining that producers intervened by speaking with all castaways as both a tribe and one-one-one, with reminders on maintaining personal boundaries. Spilo was singled out with a warning, and a reminder that the producers are now actively monitoring them.
Jeff Probst later revealed in a post-episode interview that Spilo was initially upset at being thrown out, though after lengthy discussion with him the ejected castaway respected the decision and was transported off the contest location, in Fiji, by boat. Only one episode is left for the finale of “Survivor: Island of the Gods” next Wednesday, December 18 on CBS, followed by a Reunion Special.
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