Still in the aftermath of Survivor: Island of the Idols’ unpleasant post-merge with the focus on Dan Spilo’s inappropriate touching, the other player’s reactions to it, and the mishandling of it from many in Survivor’s current 39th season, host Jeff Probst stated in a recent interview that has ideas for what to change and how to better handle situations like it in later seasons are already being discussed.
Obviously, that is a step forward, but there’s still less being said there than there should be. With clear video evidence of Dan’s misconduct, Kellee Kim feeling extremely uncomfortable with it and discussing it with other women, leading to Missy Byrd and Elizabeth Beisel exaggerating their perspective on the matter largely in the hope to turn the target for the upcoming vote off of either of them; the problem was never at any pointing getting smaller on the island. Survivor producers should’ve been nipped in the bud early.
As far as what was illustrated in the edited episode, the most producers directly did was have some sort of discussion with all the players together about personal boundaries, and gave Dan an “official warning.” The more the situation escalated in that episode and the following ones, with Kellee being voted out instead of Dan, and heated discussions on the situation occurring at tribal, where Kellee was present, but unable to speak due to being a juror. It was clear how production handled this was, at best, not enough. That much is certainly realized as Probst stated in his interview with EW with Dalton Ross that “We will definitely be using the lessons learned from the Dan situation as a guide in how to handle similar situations in future seasons. We have already started discussing ideas for how to change things in the future.”
It progresses further as interviews with other freshly eliminated players are coming out and they are able to speak more openly about the matter. Most of them have been quick to apologize, but also a few have pointed out that the discussions producers had with them weren’t as clear about their point as they could’ve been. 11th placer Aaron Meredith claimed the producers’ talks had with the players were particularly vague and didn’t get across that there was a real issue on the season that the players needed to be concerned about. Missy similarly seemed to feel in the game that if Dan’s actions were a real issue, then the producers would’ve done something about it.
These other perspectives coming out is not at all putting Survivor production in a good light and is creating more questions than giving answers. Audiences are still not sure how clear Dan’s “warning” was or how much really was pulling him from the game considered. Also if it was fair not allowing Kellee to speak for herself at the tribal council after her exit, due to wanting to keep the “integrity of the game” intact. This is coming from a show that has already had people who were voted out before, then return to the game in the same season, and sometimes even win. That’s a similar issue, but by the game’s own design. Here many feel that the problem is bigger than the game, and Kellee being silenced to that extent despite that is not acceptable. It’s difficult to say if these exactly are the exact lessons that Probst is implying have been learned and are what the future changes would revolve around. They’ve been vague and generally quiet in the past few weeks, but even if they aren’t willing to say everything; others are and hopefully won’t stop.
Survivor: Island of the Idols airs Wednesdays at 8 pm EST on CBS.
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