For the first time in Survivor history, the show’s reunion special was pre-taped — and probably for good reason, too, considering the controversy that has swirled this season.
On Wednesday night, mainstay Jeff Probst hosted the Island of the Idols reunion special, and this season’s contestants were given the floor to address all the unwanted touching allegations and myriad controversies surrounding former castmate Dan Spilo (pictured above, left). The Hollywood agent was not present during taping.
Probst himself opened things up during the contentious evening, saying (below):
“We intended to do the right thing. But in the months that have passed, we have learned so much about what we could have and should have done instead. And if this happened today we would handle it much differently. We are committed to doing our part to turn this into something positive.”
He then turned specifically to contestant Kellee Kim (pictured above, right), the one who first came forward with allegations against Dan as the controversy first reached air.
There, Jeff added:
“I want to say to you, you were right.You were right to speak up, you were right to step forward despite a lot of risk, to speak your truth and I want to acknowledge and apologize for your pain. You didn’t ask for it, and you didn’t deserve it.”
Kim was clearly nervous about finally having her moment to speak (remember, she was voted off the island in the very episode in which she first made the accusations), but she acquitted herself well.
Speaking to the rest of the cast, and Jeff, the reality TV competitor said:
“The reason why is not necessarily the injustice, it’s because I felt like I spoke up and I was not being supported or believed. And when someone goes through something like this or even something remotely like it, to not be supported and not be believed is really the hardest thing.”
After Probst told Kellee that her “voice should have been enough” in that situation, the competitor continued, hopeful for a more optimistic reading of this season rather than one defined by Spilo’s actions.
“I certainly didn’t ask my Survivor experience to be defined by this. We can’t really go back. It was incredibly difficult to come forward, but I think the most important thing when I think about this situation that happened is that I hope this season of Survivor isn’t defined by inappropriate touching or sexual harassment. I hope that it’s defined by change.”
And she went on:
“I feel like I can be really proud of the fact that I spoke up, and I asked for these changes and CBS and Survivor are making those changes, because I asked. As a result of this season, many of us have had these hard conversations. We’ve learned a lot and I think we’re still learning. Ultimately, my biggest hope is that each one of us, each individual, each institution, each organization, especially CBS and Survivor, can take this, learn from it, and do better. I fundamentally believe that we can do better.”
Probst seemed to be wholeheartedly moved by it, confirming his vow by concluding things:
“We are committed to it, Kellee.”
We’ll see about that, of course. But this is definitely a good start!
Still, it’s frustrating that Spilo himself wasn’t made available to account for his actions. Maybe Kellee and other women didn’t want him there — and if that’s the case, we can certainly understand and condone it — but if he didn’t show up because he didn’t want to own up… like, dude, come on, really?!
Anyways, what did U think of how Survivor handled this season’s high-profile controversy, y’all?? Was this the way to do it during the reunion, or did the show miss something? Sound OFF with all your opinions in the comments (below)…