'Survivor' host Jeff Probst won't reveal more details of additional Dan Spilo incident on 'Survivor: Island of the Idols'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/12/2019
Survivorhost Jeff Probst won't divulge any additional details about the off-camera Survivor: Island of the Idols incident that resulted in the show's unprecedented decision to eject castaway Dan Spilo from the game.
When asked to elaborate on the very vague on-screen graphic that aired at the conclusion of Wednesday night'sSurvivor episode and informed viewers there was another off-camera "incident" with a non-castaway that led to Dan being removed from the game, Jeff replied, "The question is a fair and reasonable one," Entertainment Weekly reported.
"I've endeavored to be as forthcoming as possible with you regarding everything that has happened this season. In this situation, out of respect for privacy and confidentiality, I can't say anymore," added Jeff, who in addition to hosting Survivor, also currently serves as the show's executive producer.
As shown on last night's Survivor broadcast on CBS, Jeff surprised castaways Noura Salman, Lauren Beck, Tommy Sheehan, Janet Carbin, and Dean Kowalski by suddenly appearing at their Lumuwaku camp to "share some news" on Day 36, the day after Elaine Stott was voted off at Night 35's Tribal Council.
The tribe automatically assumed it "meant bad news" for Dan, a 48-year-old talent manager who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, since he was missing from the gathering, and Jeff quickly confirmed that was the case.
"I just spoke privately with Dan, and I want to update you guys. 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," Jeff explained to the castaways.
Based on what was shown on Survivor's Wednesday night broadcast, it appears Dan was likely removed from the game while he was already away from camp conducting one of the many private confessional interviews the show's producers routinely do with castaways -- resulting in Dan's initial camp absence not being deemed unusual by the other castaways.
However, neither CBS or the show's producers have revealed any additional details of the circumstances of Dan's removal thus far.
Jeff admitted to EW Dan was "not happy" about being forced to leave the game when he would have been one of six castaways featured in next week's finale, when one player will be crowned "Sole Survivor" and win the $1 million prize.
"When we first told Dan we were pulling him from the game, he was not happy. We talked through everything for quite a while, and by the time he got on the boat to leave he had calmed down and was actually very respectful as he departed," Jeff revealed.
Dan is the first Survivorcastaway ever removed by producers from the game during the show's 39 seasons, which have featured hundreds of castaways over 19 years. (Past players who prematurely departed the game had been medically evacuated or chose to quit on their own accord).
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"It has been an unprecedented season. Complex social issues were woven into the game in a way we have never seen before," Jeff explained to EW.
"With our contestants' welfare at the forefront, we have spent a lot of time discussing every layer of the situation with human resources, diversity and inclusion representatives, show therapists, lawyers, publicists, and standards and practices."
"We all worked diligently throughout the entire process to make the right decisions and portray an accurate depiction of what took place," the host added. "We have learned a lot and it will inform our process moving forward."
At the end of Wednesday night'sSurvivor broadcast, the screen faded to black and the following statement appeared: "Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player."
While the vague statement did not provide any additional details about the off-screen incident, the phrasing suggested Dan was involved in another incident of inappropriate touching.
Fellow Survivorcastaway Kellee Kim complained about Dan earlier in the game because he had allegedly "disrespected" and "disgusted" her with "extremely inappropriate" behavior, resulting in producers issuing Dan a warning on Day 22, according to a statement broadcast on the season's eighth episode.
Given the statement's claim that the new incident didn't "involve a player," it would seem to have involved a Survivor crew member working on the show's production.
Jeff apparently refused to inform theSurvivor 39 castaways about the incident that resulted in Dan's removal as well "out of respect for privacy and confidentiality."
Viewers only saw a quick glimpse of how Survivor's remaining castaways reacted to the news of Dan's sudden and unexpected exit.
Janet recognized "very real-world things" were coming into play and she had a lot to process, while Tommy was upset because Dan had been one of his closest allies. Tommy had been hoping to go to the Final 3 with Dan and Dean.
"I have to say that it's a very complicated situation for the players," Jeff reasoned.
"They're on day 35 of 39. They're very close to the end. They're also in a state of 'eyes on the prize.' And because they did not receive more information for privacy reasons, they seemed to accept the news and moved on with the game."
Jeff said measures are being taken to prevent similar situations of inappropriate behavior from playing out in the future onSurvivor.
"We have learned a great deal and it will inform our process and protocols on how to evolve moving forward," Jeff told EW.
"While we still want to maintain the competitive aspect of the game, above all, we want to ensure that all players always feel safe and respected. These conversations both internally and with outside organizations will continue."
And finally, on a lighter note, Jeff teasedSurvivor's finale event next week will definitely be worthy of watching.
"This has been a very unique season with so many different powerful moments and light shed on so many topics. But simply from a game point of view -- the Island of the Idols twist has really had a big impact," Jeff shared.
"So many of the visits and tests with [Sandra Diaz-Twine] and [Rob "Boston Rob" Mariano] have resulted in game-changing moments back at camp. The finale is no different! There is one more visit to Island of the Idols, and it could change the entire game. I love finales, and this is a good one!"
Survivor: Island of the Idols' two-hour finale airs next Wednesday night at 8PM ET/PT, followed by a one-hour reunion special on CBS.