Controversy erupted on Wednesday when two contestants on “Survivor: Island of the Idols” admitted that they exaggerated a #MeToo allegation of “inappropriate touching” to win the game.
According to People, when contestant Kellee Kim began to complain about a pattern of inappropriate touching from fellow contestant Dan Spilo in Wednesday night’s episode, her allegations were quickly corroborated by contestants Missy Byrd and Elizabeth Beisel, who both alleged they had similar experiences.
“A tearful Kellee finally felt comfortable coming forward with her experiences when two other women on the show, players Missy Byrd and Elizabeth Beisel, said they had similar encounters with Dan and also felt uncomfortable with his behaviors,” the outlet reported.
During Kellee’s emotional reveal, Missy went as far to say, “It’s inappropriate touching. I’m not an object.”
However, when Kellee left their company, both Missy Byrd and Elizabeth Biesel admitted that they overplayed the allegation in order to position Dan Spilo for elimination. Taking this further, Missy advised Elizabeth to encourage another contestant, Janet Carbin, to vote Dan off the island for the alleged #MeToo offense.
“You tell her how uncomfortable you are,” Missy said. “Like, you have a very open mom-daughter moment about how uncomfortable you are. Right now, that’s our only play.”
Elizabeth said she felt no discomfort, but promised she can “play up that card in whatever way possible.”
“My job is to do whatever it takes to get on the right side of the numbers,” said Elizabeth. “The original Vokai are not the biggest fan of Dan, so if I can play up that card in whatever way possible, I’ll do it.”
“Honestly, I’ve felt safe this entire time and if I had felt uncomfortable I would have said, ‘Please stop,'” she added.
Kellee came to the show producers with her concerns, who proceeded to issue an official warning to Dan for his behavior. Ironically, Dan was not the one sent home on Wednesday night’s episode.
“When it came time to vote, Janet voted against Dan due to her ‘personal, emotional need to have these girls feel okay’ on the island. Meanwhile, Missy and Elizabeth voted for Kellee to be knocked off the island,” reported People. “Ultimately, Kellee was sent home — and Janet and the rest of the contestants soon learned the truth of the disheartening situation.”
After learning the truth of the situation, Janet said that Missy and Elizabeth exaggerating their #MeToo stories disgusted her and even considered quitting the episode as a result. Later, when Dan confronted the two women, they denied ever feeling uncomfortable by his actions.
“My viewpoint is that I have never felt uncomfortable,” Elizabeth said. “I know what people are talking about, but it’s more in a joking way, and maybe that’s where we’re on the wrong [side] of it because we shouldn’t be joking about it.”
Despite that, Dan later apologized during Tribal Council for his behavior.
“I work in the most high-wire industry in regard to this business. Most of my clients are women, most of the people I work with are women,” he said. “I work in an industry in which the #MeToo movement was formed and allowed — thank God — to blossom and become powerful and strong. My personal feeling is if anyone ever felt for a second uncomfortable about anything I’ve ever done, I’m horrified about that and I’m terribly sorry.”
“If that person was Kellee — if Kellee ever felt that in the freezing cold rain, or in tight shelters … or in all the ways we have to crawl around and through each other in this game — if I ever did anything that ever even remotely made her feel uncomfortable, it horrifies me, and I am terribly sorry,” he continued. “True, untrue, it doesn’t matter what I feel. It doesn’t matter whether I’m aware of it. It doesn’t matter whether I ever sensed it. It doesn’t matter whether I knew it happened or it didn’t happen. If someone feels it, it’s their truth.”
“I couldn’t be more sorry. I couldn’t be more confident in that I’m one of the kindest, gentlest people I know,” he concluded. “I have a wife, I have been married for 21 years, I have two boys, I have a big business, I have lots of employees. I think what upset everybody here is that this has somehow turned into gameplay.”