'Survivor: Island of the Idols' castoff Kellee Kim slams Elizabeth Beisel and Missy Byrd's use of Dan Spilo allegations as strategy: Lies can do "irreparable damage"
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/20/2019
Survivor: Island of the Idols castoff Kellee Kim is slamming how Elizabeth Beisel and Missy Byrd used inappropriate-touching allegations against Dan Spilo as a tool to get ahead in the game, insisting such lies discredit the truth and do "irreparable damage to the issue."
Before Kellee, 29, got voted out of Survivor in last week's double episode, she had been vocal about her issues with Dan's "extremely inappropriate" touchy-feely behavior in their interactions.
Although Kellee felt "disrespected" and "disgusted" by Dan, she put her personal feelings aside and wanted to target a bigger threat, Missy, who then told Elizabeth their "only play" would be to exaggerate Kellee's allegations as a strategic move -- although both women admitted Dan, 48, had never made them feel uncomfortable -- in order to paint a target on Dan's back.
"What you see in the game here -- it's an issue that happens everywhere: in bars, schools, and offices -- and it's an issue that (mostly) young women have to face. I draw the ethical line at using something like this as a tool," Kellee toldEntertainment Weekly.
"The reason is: I needed to be believed, and production needed to step in. If people lie or use it to their advantage, it discredits the truthful stories and does irreparable damage to the issue."
Elizabeth, 26, and Missy, 24, managed to convince Dan's friend and ally in the game, Janet Carbin, to vote on moral grounds under the false impression she was protecting her girls in the tribe. However, Kellee got voted out instead of Dan, and Janet felt used and betrayed.
Elizabeth and Missy have since apologized for undermining Kellee's legitimate personal concerns on the matter and setting Dan up for potentially harmful repercussions in the real world. They also issued public apologies to Janet, 59, for lying and then turning their backs on her.
"I feel sexual [discomfort] has nowhere, no place, in a joking environment, in a game environment, in anything. It's its own entity. It's a very powerful, powerful thing. Lives can be destroyed," Janet told the cameras in last week's episode.
Kellee also told EW she draws "the ethical line" at "staying silent" and supposedly "not knowing."
"There is no such thing as an innocent bystander, and by not asking, taking action, or taking a side, you enable the behavior. Those who have the privilege of ignoring what's happening have to take responsibility or this type of behavior will continue," Kellee explained.
"I'm not saying that what happened was okay. I'm saying that I hope that we are all learning."
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The women's accusations against Dan were taken seriously enough where producers felt the need to step in after the merge and caution the cast about "personal boundaries." (Kellee had once asked Dan to stop the behavior at the beginning of the season, but it allegedly continued).
Producers also met privately with Dan and issued him an individual warning for his alleged excessive touching -- which allegedly included placing his hand on a woman's waist or thigh on occasion, mainly while sleeping in the shelter.
"I did not know about Dan getting a personal warning until I watched the episode," Kellee revealed to EW.
Kellee admitted she didn't thinkSurvivor's production team handled the matter well.
"If production was going to give Dan an official warning, they should have just pulled him from the game or at least informed me so that I was aware of how it might impact the game," Kellee explained.
"Let's bring this to the workplace; you complain about your coworker making you feel uncomfortable and touching you too much. This person gets a warning, and as a result, refuses to work with you, blocks anything you try to put forward, and it hurts your career."
Kellee elaborated, "So while I don't think this was the right course of action, this issue coming to light is allowing production to have these conversations, input protocol, raise awareness, and change for the better."
After Kellee was voted out of the game, Dan celebrated her ouster and appeared to be relieved.
Dan was despondent over the accusations against him in the game.
Dan acknowledged at the subsequent Tribal Council when Jamal Shipman went home that everyone was forced to sleep in tight, crowded shelters and crawl around each other in the game. Dan said if he ever laid a hand on someone inappropriately, it was not intentional and he'd be "horrified" at the thought.
Dan viewed himself as a kind and gentle person, but he said he also wasn't trying to discredit how he might've made someone feel -- even if he didn't think the claims were true or accurate.
When asked to share what her current relationship with Dan is like outside of the game, Kellee said, "My relationship with Dan is between me and Dan."
"Having a good or bad relationship with someone after something like this seems to warp public perception of what happened," she noted. "My relationship with Dan has no bearing on the facts, which the public saw air."
Kellee admitted what happened during the game and having to deal with the aftermath of it all has been "very hard" for her.
"After many months of feeling alone, the outpour of messages, posts, DMs, texts, food, flowers, and calls have meant so much. I feel loved, heard, and believed, and there is no better gift. Thank you for that," Kellee told EW.
She added, "Speaking up for myself and others took a lot of courage, because there was always the risk that I wasn't going to be believed. That's why it's important to support them and speak up for them. I am grateful to those who supported me and took a stand for me."