Before the close of Survivor Season 39, which CBS acknowledges was “unprecedented” in how “inappropriate individual behavior intersect[ed] with game play,” the network has announced new policies and procedures designed to curb sexual harassment, biases and other social issues.
“We recognize there are things we could have done differently” during Season 39, which saw castaway Dan Spilo historically removed from the competition after multiple alleged instances of inappropriate physical contact with cast and crew, “and we are determined to do better going forward,” the network said in a statement.
For Season 40, which has already filmed, the show added to its pre-production cast orientation specific guidelines regarding personal space, inappropriate behavior, and how to report these issues. For Seasons 41 and beyond, producers are reviewing all elements of the show to further support appropriate interaction, including how the players live during, as well as after they are eliminated from, the competition.
Additional measures being taken to “further support a safe environment” include:
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The production will add another on-site professional to provide a confidential means of reporting any concerns, so that the production can address them promptly apart from the game.
The show will enhance its pre-production orientation with new anti-harassment, unconscious bias, and sensitivity training for cast, producers and production crew on location.
A new rule will be implemented stating unwelcome physical contact, sexual harassment and impermissible biases cannot be brought into the competition and will not be permitted as part of gameplay. This will be covered in the cast orientation for each season, along with clear instructions on how to report violations.
The show will partner with a third-party expert in the field to review, evolve or add to these new policies and procedures going forward.
During Survivor’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. Spilo on Dec. 11 was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player. (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.)