Survivor: Island of the Idols castaways Elizabeth Beisel and Missy Byrd have issued lengthy apologies in light of Wednesday night’s episode that featured the women exaggerating and fabricating sexual harassment allegations as a strategic move.
Elizabeth and Missy took to social media on Thursday to apologize for blowing Kellee Kim’s allegations of unwanted touching and discomfort against fellow castaway Dan Spilo out of proportion in order to save themselves from getting voted out.
Elizabeth and Missy were subjected to backlash following the episode because their decision to run with allegations against Dan — which they admitted were not true — could have impacted his life outside of the game, especially in light of the “Me Too” movement.
Elizabeth addressed her apology to Survivor viewers, past players, family and friends.
“After watching the episode, my eyes were opened to a completely different truth, and I received an abundance of information that I was entirely unaware of while playing the game,” Elizabeth, 27, tweeted on Thursday.
“I had no idea the severity of the situation. As a player, I am limited to my own experiences and knowing what I know now, my decisions would have been very different.”
Kellee had been very vocal about her issues with Dan and how he was allegedly “extremely inappropriate” in their interactions.
Although Kellee felt “disrespected” and “disgusted” by Dan, she put her personal feelings aside and wanted to target Missy in order to increase her own chances of winning Survivor.
Missy was then shown telling Elizabeth their “only play” was to tell Janet Carbin how uncomfortable Dan made them feel so they could put the target on Dan instead.
Elizabeth also wanted to get on the right side of the numbers, so she was willing to “play up that card,” although she insisted Dan had never really made her feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
“To Kellee,” Elizabeth wrote in her Twitter apology.
“I was sick to my stomach watching the episode and seeing how much pain you were in. I wholeheartedly apologize to you for using your accusations against Dan for gameplay. In no world is that acceptable, and I take full responsibility for my actions, and lack thereof.”
Janet wanted to protect her girls since they seemed to be in a “panic,” so she agreed to make the “moral” decision and switch her vote from Missy to Dan — only to be betrayed by the girls after the Tribal Council in which Kellee went home.
When Dan confronted Elizabeth and Missy about their accusations, the girls basically lied and insisted Janet had fabricated stories as “a tool” to further herself in the game.
Dan’s positive opinion of Janet changed as a result, and Janet felt hated by the whole tribe.
“To Janet,” Elizabeth continued, “I deeply regret ever taking advantage of you in the game this way. Watching the episode, it was clear your sole intention was to protect us women, and I am distraught by the way I handled this situation. I am extremely sorry.”
Elizabeth ended her statement by addressing “women everywhere.”
“Sexual harassment and sexual assault are extremely serious, life altering topics that I do not take lightly. They have no business being used as tactics to further one’s own agenda, whether it be in real life or in the game of Survivor,” she wrote.
“I am beyond disappointed in my behavior and will use this as a life-changing, teaching moment.”
The women’s accusations were taken so seriously on Survivor that producers had to step in and caution the cast about “personal boundaries.” They also privately met with Dan and issued him an individual warning.
“I feel sexual [discomfort] has nowhere, no place, in a joking environment, in a game environment, in anything,” Janet told the cameras in Wednesday night’s episode.
“It’s its own entity. It’s a very powerful, powerful thing. Lives can be destroyed.”
Missy, 25, also let the world know how regretful she was of her actions in the game on Twitter.
“I would like to thank Kellee and Janet for being so courageous and leading by example. I became so caught up in game play that I did not realize a very serious situation, nor did I handle it with the care that it deserved,” Missy tweeted.
“Due to the nature of Survivor, I was viewing the game through a small lens and with a limited scope. I did not have all the information on the subject and I made a game move that was unjust. To Kellee and Janet, I truly apologize for my actions. To all women, I genuinely apologize for my actions.”
Missy continued, “This is a life changing learning moment for me. Sexual assault is never to be taken lightly, and I’d like to apologize to any viewers that have been victimized. I do not take this issue lightly. I have done a lot of reflecting since the game and understand and accept the consequences of my lapse in judgment. Again, I am truly sorry.”
Lauren Beck, 28, also conspired with Elizabeth and Missy in the episode, and so she explained on social media that she “did not know the full extent of Kellee’s feelings” and didn’t intentionally use them to “further my game.”
But women weren’t the only people who apologized after Wednesday night’s Survivor broadcast.
At the Tribal Council when Jamal Shipman got voted out, Aaron Meredith announced, “The victim role is being assumed by Janet… She’s trying to spin this into something that could potentially affect the life of Dan. If this was truly a Tribal concern about Dan, I would’ve been involved — [and the other men].”
Jamal called Aaron, 36, out for trying to negate the legitimacy of the women’s complaints about Dan, saying, “We are not entitled to know things just because we are men or we are in power.”
Aaron therefore released a tearful video Thursday on Instagram and captioned it, “Truly sorry… I apologize for my actions and take full responsibility for what I said. Sorry to the @officialsurvivor_cbs community.”
“Watching back the episode was extremely difficult… I regret saying what I said [at Tribal Council]. Watching it back, I’m very disappointed in myself and how I conducted myself handling the emotions of this game in this situation, given the magnitude of what this surrounds,” Aaron said.
He added, “I’m not looking to make any justifications in my behavior. It was completely unwarranted. I was out of line. I was out of place. I let emotions get the best of me. I made a mistake and I’m completely, completely owning it… It’s not reflective of me as a person outside the game.”