Survivor: CBS Implements New Rules as Dan Spilo Apologizes to Kellee Kim

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After a season of controversy, CBS and Survivor have vowed to make some big changes to upcoming seasons in the wake of removing its first player ever from the game over inappropriate conduct. 

The news comes on the heels of ejected contestant Dan Spilo publicly apologizing to Kellee Kim, who took Dan to task on the season premiere for unwanted physical contact. 

Dan Spilo on Survivor

If you watch Survivor online, you know Kim addressed her issues with him directly, but the controversy continued, with Dan being ousted from the show following an off-camera incident with a member of the show's crew. 

Viewers and members of the cast were not impressed at how long it took for CBS or the producers to actually do something about it. 

"We recognize there are things we could have done differently, and we are determined to do better going forward," CBS and Survivor said in a joint statement via Deadline.

Spilo 2

"We will take the important lessons we learned from this season and adopt new protocols and procedures for future seasons, to ensure that the events that occurred this season are not repeated."

Survivor Season 40 has already been filmed, but production had already "added to its pre-production cast orientation specific guidelines regarding personal space, inappropriate behavior, and how to report these issues."

For Survivor Season 41 and beyond, the show will add another member of staff, described as an "on-site professional" to handle confidential reporting of concerns. 

On top of that, players will be told about a "full range of reporting processes" ahead of shooting commencing. 

Spilo 1

Production is adding "new anti-harassment, unconscious bias and sensitivity training for cast, producers and production crew on location," in addition to a new rule to the game "stating unwelcome physical contact, sexual harassment and impermissible biases cannot be brought into the competition and will not be permitted as part of gameplay."

The show is also partnering with a "third-party expert in the field" to help evolve the processes to make sure they are changed as warranted going forward. 

The network has also revealed these changes will affect all other CBS reality shows, so there's that. 

Jeff Probst for Season 39 - Survivor

Thanks to the controversy, Wednesday's reunion show will be pre-taped thanks to safety concerns. 

Spilo's apology to Kim came via People just ahead of these rule changes being revealed. 

"I am deeply sorry for how my actions affected Kellee during the taping of this season of Survivor,” Spilo told People magazine on Tuesday, speaking about the way he made contestant Kellee Kim uncomfortable.

He added: “After apologizing at the tribal council when I first learned that Kellee still felt uncomfortable, I want to make sure I do so again, clearly and unambiguously.

"I truly regret that anyone was made to feel uncomfortable by my behavior."

kellee kim

Kellee responded to the apology on social media. 

"It’s curious that Dan has decided to publicly apologize to me - and just me - on the eve of the #Survivor39 finale for a series of inappropriate incidents that occurred months ago and impacted a number of women on set," she Tweeted last night, adding:

"I truly hope that some of this self-reflection is real and that Dan changes his behavior going forward.

kellee kim twitter

"For men, this statement only underscores the responsibility of CBS and Survivor to take action to prevent anything like this from ever happening again in the future. #Survivor."


What are your thoughts on this?

Survivor concludes Season 39 Wednesday on CBS. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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