For the first time in Survivor‘s 39-season history, a contestant has been ejected from the game due to an undisclosed, off-camera incident.
At the end of Wednesday’s episode, Jeff Probst revealed to the remaining castaways that Dan Spilo had been removed and would not return to camp.
“I just spoke privately with Dan and I want to update you guys,” Probst said. “A decision has been made and Dan will not be returning to the game. He won’t be coming back to camp. He won’t be on the jury. He’s gone.”
Probst’s announcement was followed by a title card, which read as follows:
Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player.
The nature of said incident was not revealed to the contestants. “In this situation, out of respect for privacy and confidentiality, I can’t say anymore,” Probst told EW.
Shortly thereafter, People reported that the incident in question involved a member of the series’ production team and happened after an immunity challenge, when Spilo and his fellow contestants were getting into a boat to transport them back to the camp.
During the show’s Nov. 13 episode, castaway Kellee Kim made clear her discomfort with Spilo’s encroaching of her personal space and inappropriate touching. On-site producers were forced to intervene, and give Spilo a formal warning. Following Kim’s complaint, fellow Island of the Idols contestants Elizabeth Beisel and Missy Byrd embellished their own unease around Dan in order to take themselves out of the line of fire come tribal council, and later tendered apologies (which you can read here).
Following Wednesday’s reveal, Kim put out a statement on Twitter. “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 said. “CBS and Survivor were on notice of Dan’s behavior from the very first days of the game. And, as Survivor fans know, shortly after I spoke up on camera, I was voted off the show. Since then, I’ve accepted genuine, heartfelt apologies from fellow castaways, but I’ve continued to feel disappointed by how this pattern of behavior was allowed to occur for so long.
“While I wish many things had gone differently, I’m glad that my decision to speak up made a difference,” she continued. “What is most important to me now is how all of us — CBS, Survivor, other organizations, and all of us as individuals — decide to learn from this story and commit to take action.”
Prior to Spilo’s removal, it was announced that the Dec. 18 finale’s reunion show, which is typically broadcast live, would instead go “live-to-tape” and film four hours before air due to the “sensitive nature of the material this season.”
Watch video of Probst’s on-air announcement below: