Survivor castaway Dan Spilo has broken his silence after being removed from Survivor: Island of the Idols for allegedly touching a crew member inappropriately, weeks after castaway Kellee Kim had accused him of making her uncomfortable with his behavior.
“I am deeply sorry for how my actions affected Kellee during the taping of this season of Survivor,” Dan told People in a statement.
“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,” Dan continued.
“In my life, I have always tried to treat others with decency, integrity and kindness. I can only hope that my actions in the future can help me to make amends and show me to be the kind of father, husband, colleague and friend that I always aim to be.”
This marks the first time Dan has spoken out about the controversial events that unfolded during and after last week’s episode of Survivor: Island of the Idols that showed his removal, other than telling a U.K. Daily Mail paparazzo on the street last week he was “not allowed to comment” but wished he could.
According to sources close to Dan, the 48-year-old Los Angeles talent manager reportedly planned to address the scandal on Survivor’s upcoming December 18 finale but was later uninvited to the reunion special.
Dan was reportedly asked not to attend the finale after the episode aired in which Kellee was voted out after she had voiced her complaints about Dan, saying she had felt “disrespected” and “disgusted” by his touchy-feely behavior around camp after she had asked him to stop earlier in the game.
Survivor’s finale will not air live for the first time in the franchise’s near 20-year run on television reportedly due to the sensitive material that will be raised and concern for the cast’s security and comfort.
The three-hour finale event will therefore film earlier in the day on Wednesday before airing on tape delay at 8PM ET/PT on CBS, Entertainment Weekly reported.
Dan was removed from the show on Day 36 “after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player,” according to a vague on-screen graphic that flashed on the screen at the end of the December 11 episode.
The broadcast showed Survivor host and executive producer Jeff Probst telling the season’s remaining five castaways that Dan was out of the game and would not participate as a member of the jury, but he did not share any details of why Dan was gone.
Both Jeff and CBS have thus far refused to share any additional details about the off-camera incident “out of respect for privacy and confidentiality,” according to EW.
However, sources close to production told People late last week Dan allegedly groped a crew member’s leg when entering a transfer boat after an Immunity Challenge — presumably the challenge that occurred on Day 35 before Elaine Stott was voted out at the end of the December 11 episode.
Dan reportedly insisted the alleged groping was accidental and unintentional because he had lost his balance while stepping into the slippery boat. (Three-time Survivor castaway Jeff Varner has voiced support of Dan after allegedly speaking with castaways from the current season about the incident).
Survivor’s production and legal team, however, weren’t convinced Dan’s gesture was innocent, People reported, and so he was forced to leave the game later on.
Jeff Probst previously told EW that Dan was “not happy” to be booted from the show, but People’s insiders claim Dan was actually furious and vehemently disagreed with producers’ decision.
Dan is the first Survivor castaway ever ejected 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).
Dan was issued a formal warning by the show’s producers on Day 22 of the game due to Kellee’s complaints, but action was not taken until the alleged groping of a crew member.
When Dan was warned about his behavior, producers also reportedly approached the cast and gave them a safe space to share their concerns.
However, castaway Aaron Meredith told Parade each player was pulled aside and told vague information about the issue. Aaron was apparently unaware the warning even had anything to do with Dan.
“It was just a very vague blanket statement telling me if I ever felt unsafe, I should let production know,” Aaron said. “There was never any indication that something was going on or that someone had issues.”