In what is certainly one of the most shocking episodes in Survivor history, on Day 36 this season, a group of players received the news that producer Dan Spilo was removed from the game. It’s the first time in 39 seasons that a player has been pulled over off-camera reasons, as opposed to a medical emergency or other legitimate issue. But the reason for Spilo’s exit wasn’t a medical concern—it was that he was making other contestants uncomfortable with inappropriate touching.
Throughout the season, several female contestants (most notably Kellee Kim) expressed feeling uneasy around the 48-year-old Hollywood agent. He would give them back rubs, rest his head on their legs, tickle their toes and more cringe-worthy actions. They complained about him to producers, who gave him a warning. Then, at the merge, Missy Byrd and Elizabeth Beisel played up their concerns about him in order to use them to get him voted out.
But it was the incident involving the producer that finally did him in, as multiple sources tell People it “borders on sexual harassment.” Sources say he touched the female crew member’s thigh while getting into the show’s transport boat. He claimed it was accidental and that he had lost his balance.
After that, CBS and MGM TV announced they had held off-camera discussions with all the remaining contestants as a group and individually to discuss their concerns and advise them about appropriate boundaries. They also issued a formal warning to the male castaway involved, but the decision was made to remove him from the game due to his continued inappropriate behavior.