The new realities of the #MeToo era have dominated the latest season of the long-time CBS television competition ‘Survivor.’
The show ends its 39th season on Wednesday reeling from the first-ever forced removal of a contestant.
Hollywood agent Dan Spilo was sent packing after young women complained about inappropriate touching. It was an ongoing issue during the season.
Spilo was ultimately booted following an off-camera incident involving a staff member. According to PEOPLE, the incident involved touching a female producer’s thigh as he was getting into a transport boat.
He broke his silence on Tuesday in a statement to PEOPLE and apologized that his actions made other contestants feel uncomfortable.
“I truly regret that anyone was made to feel uncomfortable by my behavior,” Spilo said. “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.”
Fellow ‘Survivor’ contestant Kelee Kim complained multiple times about Spilo’s behavior during this season. She called his apology, on the day before the season finale, “curious.”
“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,” Kim tweeted Tuesday. “I truly hope that some of this self reflection is real and that Dan changes his behavior going forward. For me, 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.”
Spilo’s behavior has raised questions about whether CBS was too slow to react to the complaints voiced by young women who were competing for the show’s $1 million prize.
USA TODAY reports that CBS has made some changes to the competition going forward. According to a statement provided to USA TODAY and DEADLINE, next season’s contestants were given guidelines for how to report issues about personal space and inappropriate behavior.
Additionally, USA TODAY reports that there will be added antiharassment and sensitivity training, along with an onsite contact who can deal with contestant concerns on the matter.
“For Seasons 41 and beyond, the producers are reviewing all elements of the show to further support appropriate interaction, including how the players live during, as well as after they are eliminated from, the competition,” the statement from CBS and “Survivor” stated.
“Survivor” will also implement a new rule “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 season finale of “Survivor” is set to air Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.