Survivor: Island of the Idols was hit by a major scandal on Wednesday after multiple contestants accused contestant Dan Spilo of “inappropriate touching” — a concern that two players later admitted they exaggerated in order to get him voted off the island.
On the latest episode of the CBS reality program, contestant Kellee Kim continued to express concern over the fellow player and Hollywood agent Dan for being too touchy and violating her personal space, even after making multiple requests for him to stop.
A tearful Kellee finally felt comfortable coming forward with her experiences when two other women on the show, players Missy Byrd and Elizabeth Beisel, said they had similar encounters with Dan and also felt uncomfortable with his behaviors.
“It’s inappropriate touching. I’m not an object,” Missy told an upset Kellee.
However, when Kellee was not around, Missy and Elizabeth admitted that they exaggerated their reactions to Dan’s inappropriate touching in order to make him a target and get him voted off the island.
Missy went as far as telling Elizabeth to encourage their self-elected mom of the group, Janet Carbin, to vote for Dan.
“You tell her how uncomfortable you are,” Missy said. “Like, you have a very open mom-daughter moment about how uncomfortable you are. Right now, that’s our only play.”
Even though she didn’t feel uncomfortable, Elizabeth admitted, if she “can play up that card in whatever way possible, I’ll do it.”
“My job is to do whatever it takes to get on the right side of the numbers,” she continued. “The original Vokai are not the biggest fan of Dan, so if I can play up that card in whatever way possible, I’ll do it.”
Later, Elizabeth emphatically added, “Honestly, I’ve felt safe this entire time and if I had felt uncomfortable I would have said, ‘Please stop.’”
Meanwhile, a now-empowered Kellee came to producers with her concerns, who then addressed the issue off-camera with all contestants on the show. As a result, Dan received an official warning for his behavior.
Dan did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
When it came time to vote, Janet voted against Dan due to her “personal, emotional need to have these girls feel okay” on the island. Meanwhile, Missy and Elizabeth voted for Kellee to be knocked off the island.
Ultimately, Kellee was sent home — and Janet and the rest of the contestants soon learned the truth of the disheartening situation.
“I feel anything that has to do with sexual uncomfortability has no place in a game environment,” she said during a confessional, adding how Missy and Elizabeth embellishing their stories “disgusts” her. (Janet also revealed at the end of the episode that she was considered quitting as a result of the ordeal.)
Janet then confronted Dan about his behaviors with the other women, even recalling to him how Missy and Elizabeth came to her crying with their stories.
But just a short time after, Dan met up with Missy and Elizabeth, who denied ever feeling uncomfortable by his actions.
“My viewpoint is that I have never felt uncomfortable,” Elizabeth said in a confessional. “I know what people are talking about, but it’s more in a joking way, and maybe that’s where we’re on the wrong [side] of it because we shouldn’t be joking about it.”
Dan did, however, apologize at the end of the episode during Tribal Council for his behaviors, telling his fellow players, “I work in the most high-wire industry in regards to this business. Most of my clients are women, most of the people I work with are women.”
“I work in an industry in which the #MeToo movement was formed and allowed — thank God — to blossom and become powerful and strong. My personal feeling is if anyone ever felt for a second uncomfortable about anything I’ve ever done, I’m horrified about that and I’m terribly sorry,” he went on.
“If that person was Kellee — if Kellee ever felt that in the freezing cold rain, or in tight shelters… or in all the ways we have to crawl around and through each other in this game — if I ever did anything that ever even remotely made her feel uncomfortable, it horrifies me, and I am terribly sorry,” Dan continued.
“True, untrue, it doesn’t matter what I feel,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether I’m aware of it. It doesn’t matter whether I ever sensed it. It doesn’t matter whether I knew it happened or it didn’t happen. If someone feels it, it’s their truth.”
“I couldn’t be more sorry. I couldn’t be more confident in that I’m one of the kindest, gentlest people I know,” he added. “I have a wife, I have been married for 21 years, I have two boys, I have a big business, I have lots of employees. I think what upset everybody here is that this has somehow turned into gameplay.”
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