Jeff Varner blasts 'Survivor,' claims producers taping finale to edit out comments supportive of Dan Spilo and critical of producers
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/13/2019
Jeff Varner has lashed out atSurvivor producers, claiming the reason they're pre-taping Survivor: Island of the Idols' reunion is because castaways plan to voice support for Dan Spilo and criticize the show's presentation of Dan's alleged inappropriate touching and the producers allegedly want to edit those comments out.
Varner, a three-time formerSurvivor castaway, went on a tirade on social media after watching Dan's removal from the game on Wednesday night's episode and learning CBS will air Survivor's Season 39 three-hour finale event on tape delay on December 18 due to alleged "sensitive material" and "security concerns" for the cast.
The unprecedented decision will mark the first time in Survivor's near 20-year run that a season's reunion show will not air live and creates the possibility the cast's comments may be edited by CBS or the show's producers.
"What just happened on Survivor[Wednesday night] is 100% bull s--t. I have so much to say and am fuming right now. About to climb the walls," Varner, 53, wrote in a Facebook posting.
Survivor: Island of the Idols castaway Kellee Kim accused Dan of "extremely inappropriate" behavior early in the game but his behavior allegedly still continued afterward, resulting in Dan finally being issued a formal warning by the show's producers on Day 22 of the game.
Survivor's producers and legal team, however, later determined Dan had to be removed from the show on Day 36 "after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player," according to a vague on-screen graphic that flashed on the screen at the end of Wednesday night's episode.
"I've talked to cast members. I know what happened that got him removed and I'm telling you, 100% horse s--t. The cast has rallied behind Dan and few to no one is behind Kellee," Varner insisted on Facebook.
"It's so painful to see what is happening with this show. They are pre-taping the reunion because cast members plan to publicly support Dan and call out producers. Can't have that on a live mic. Ugh. So pissed. Rant over. For now."
After his Facebook initial posting, Varner proceeded to make more than a dozen additional posts blasting CBS and Survivor producers as he responded to subsequent comments from other Facebook users.
In addition, Varner also lashed out on Twitter, claiming the "prepared reunion is cowardice" and adding, "This producer manipulation is 100% bull s--t."
In a tweet to a fan, Varner also wrote, "I know what really happened and leaving the viewer with the impression Dan has molested someone on production is bullsh-t. The cast is not happy. They love Dan. Threats of boycotts. They're not going to allow them near a live mic. Cowards."
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Varner is also accusing Survivor producers of deliberately phrasing the on-screen graphic in a manner that misrepresented what happened off-camera and left viewers believing the incident was more significant than what actually occurred.
Survivor's Wednesday night episode showedhost and executive producer Jeff Probst telling the season's remaining castaways that Dan was out of the game and would not participate as a member of the jury, but he did not share any details of why Dan was gone and both Jeff and CBS have refused to share any additional details about the off-camera incident since the episode aired.
However, sources close to production told People on Thursday that Dan allegedly groped a crew member's leg when entering a transfer boat after an Immunity Challenge -- presumably the challenge that occurred before Elaine Stott was voted out at the end of Wednesday night's episode.
Varner called the on-screen graphic "a crock" and additionally wrote on Facebook that Dan's act was "super innocent" because he had only slipped on a wet boat and touched a producer's leg in attempt to get his balance.
"That fullscreen telling the viewer basically 'this guys is a predator who sexually assaulted a producer' is horrific. Nobody deserves that... [For] for the show to portray this guy as a serial predator is out of line. I actually have been out there on the survivor Island three times. I know what they do and I know how they do it," Varner wrote.
Varner's advocacy and empathy for Dan is also presumably impacted by his own Survivorexperience in which he felt let down by CBS and the show's producers during his stint on Survivor: Game Changers, which aired in 2017.
Varner faced strong hate and backlash after he publicly outed fellow castaway Zeke Smith as transgender while attempting to save himself from vote-off at a Survivor: Game Changers Tribal Council session.
Afterward, Varner insisted he thought Zeke had already come out when he competed on Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X -- which had filmed immediately before Game Changers but not aired on CBS yet -- and apologized endlessly for the alleged unintentional public outing. However, his action was presented as the ultimate betrayal and became one of the season's key focuses and generated significant news headlines.