Dan Spilo Becomes First Player in ‘Survivor’ History to be Removed From Game: Show Sources Reveal Details of What Happened During Off-Camera Incident

Dan Spilo will go down in Survivor history…but not in the way he was probably hoping to.

During Wednesday’s episode, the Survivor: Island of the Idols contestant became the first player in the show’s 20-year history to be ejected from the game due to what’s been called “inappropriate conduct” by several of those related to ‘Survivor.’ Following the tribal council on Wednesday’s episode, host Jeff Probst informed the remaining contestants that Dan had been let go and would not appear on the jury.  An on-screen message followed to let viewers know that Dan was kicked off the season.

“Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve another player,” the message, which was shown at the very end of the episode, read. 

No further information was provided, leaving viewers confused and wondering what the “incident” was that caused Dan to get the boot. Earlier in the season, Dan had been issued an official warning by production after several female contestants complained that he would inappropriately touch them.

His actions— which included him touching women’s hair, providing unwanted “cuddling” at night, rubbing female co-stars’ shoulders, etc.– were enough to make several female contestants, including Kellee Kim and Molly Byrd, complain to other contestants and later production.

Viewers were informed that production spoke with all the contestants about avoiding inappropriate touching, and spoke to Dan privately about his actions. Until Wednesday’s episode, there was no more mention of Dan acting inappropriately. 

When asked by Entertainment Weekly to explain what happened and why Dan was booted from the show, Jeff stated that he was unable to elaborate, hinting that there may be ongoing fallout from what went down.

“The question is a fair and reasonable one,” Jeff told the site. “I’ve endeavored to be as forthcoming as possible with you regarding everything that has happened this season. In this situation, out of respect for privacy and confidentiality, I can’t say anymore.”

Jeff added that, going forward, there would be changes made to the game to avoid similar situations from happening in the future.

“We have learned a great deal and it will inform our process and protocols on how to evolve moving forward,” Jeff said.

While Jeff wasn’t able to spill the details, People magazine provided some more information about allegedly went down off-camera to cause Dan to be kicked off the show.

People has spoken to multiple people involved with the show’s production, who confirmed that the incident in question — which involved a member of the show’s production team — happened after an immunity challenge as Spilo and other contestants were getting into a boat to transport them back to the camp.

“While getting into the boat, Spilo allegedly touched a female crew member on the leg,” the magazine continued. “He insisted that the contact was accidental, according to multiple sources, but the show’s production team wasn’t convinced of that and after consulting with the show’s legal team, producers decided to remove him from the show.”

The magazine claimed that at least one other ‘Survivor’ contestant witnessed the alleged incident (although it was not caught on camera), and that Dan “vehemently disagreed” with the decision to remove him from the game. 

After it was revealed that Dan had been removed from the game, Kellee released a statement via Twitter.

“Should have listened to me the first time, CBS!”

“While Dan’s dismissal has validated the concerns that I raised from the beginning of this season, I wish that no one else had to be subjected to this type of behavior,” Kellee’s statement read in part. “CBS and ‘Survivor’ were on notice of Dan’s behavior from the very first days of the game. And, as ‘Survivor’ fans know, shortly after I spoke up on camera, I was voted off the show. Since then, I’ve accepted genuine, heartfelt apologies from fellow castaways, but I’ve continued to feel disappointed by how this pattern of behavior was allowed to occur for so long.”

(You can read Kellee’s full statement here.)

According to Entertainment Weekly, the “Island of the Idols” finale will be taped four hours in advance, as opposed to the live finale format the show has always used. It will air on December 18.

“A source close to the situation tells EW that the change was made due to the sensitive nature of the material this season,” the site states.

People reports that Dan has been informed that he will not be invited to attend the Finale. 

“Spilo was told by the CBS legal department that he would not be permitted to appear at the finale,” the site reports.

So far, Dan has not commented on the episode, and at press time his social media accounts were set to private. 

The Ashley will update this story as more information becomes available.

(Photos: CBS, Instagram)


  1. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “Trash”. Reason: Failed Bot Test (expired) *]
    does anybody remember the first season when richard was naked the whole time? not only did no one complain, he went on to win.

  2. What if the touching was harmless I mean it’s cold they snuggle. What if Dan is just a touchy huggy person & things were taken the wrong way? Getting in the boat what if he lost balance & put hand on her leg to catch himself or keep balance. Just saying this could be ruining this guys life forever for something that may have been harmless. What if?

    1. If someone specifically tells another person that they are not comfortable with being touched, that person should respect those boundaries. From day one, Kellee told Dan that she didn’t like being touched. He continued to come up behind her and rub her shoulders, reach out and stroke her hair, etc. He refused to stop touching her. THAT is a problem.

  3. I don’t even watch this show but if fellow contestants were reporting his behavior why did he stay until he inappropriately touched a production member? Things that make you go hmmm

    1. Kellee was filmed discussing it with a producer and later that day they called 2 meetings – one with all the castaways and one with just Dan. He was given a warning and told to stop and that if he did it again, he would be out.

      So then he did it again, with the production member, and he was pulled then.

      Some people are upset he wasn’t pulled in the beginning, but some feel the warning was fair. Either way, that’s some serious lack of self-control if you can’t even make yourself stop when you’re on national television, have already been embarrassed to be confronted on this issue, and know you’ll be pulled if you get caught. Yikes.

    2. Most of the contestants back tracked almost immediately. A couple of them said they didn’t have an issue and used Dan to get under Kellee’s skin basically. They had several meetings after the on camera interviews and dan was given a warning. He did it again, and was kicked off.

  4. He should have been remove when Kelli reported it the SECOND time. They have film of him touching her and others after being told by the women not to touch them. Everyone has a right to tell anyone else to not touch their body. Dan chose to ignore it time and time again.

    1. Except you hear one of the producers asking Kelle if she wanted them to intervene and she said no. And when she was talking to Missy about how much she disliked his touching she said “I think he should go soon.. maybe not this time, but definitely the next.” Kelle only went hard for him after her name was being tossed around to leave. I’m not defending him nor blaming her because it would have been a super difficult situation, but still. That whole thing was really uncomfortable. Really hated the way All the girls left Janet hanging out to dry.

    1. The stuff with Kellee was real. There were two other women who, after hearing about Kellee’s experience, decided to use it for game-play. Those two admitted to embellishing their stories to try to get Dan voted out of the game.

      Personally, I’m pissed that they did that. Something like this isn’t to be used for game play strategy.

      And, I agree, the producers had enough video evidence to boot him on day 22. It will be interesting to see what, if any, fall out comes of this and how they handle things in the future.

    2. No that is not true at all.

      You’re probably referring to Missy and Elizabeth. What happened with them was, he did touch them and they vented about it with Kellee, Janet, etc. There are quite a few scenes of the women discussing the issue. There are also quite a few scenes with footage of him touching them inappropriately. Even after being asked to stop.

      But later on when Dan was told they had had an issue with him, they completely denied it and said Janet and Kellee were lying. Even though Janet had tried to protect them because she took their concerns very seriously. In fact Janet was closely aligned with Dan, but was willing to lose him in the game because she didn’t want the girls to feel uncomfortable anymore.

      Also, in the meantime, there was supposed to be a group vote to get him out because most of the young girls felt uncomfortable with him, but Missy and Elizabeth wanted Kellee out instead, so they decided to keep Dan and use him for a vote. But to keep their plan secret, they discussed “playing up” that they were upset about Dan, saying it was a good excuse to pretend they wanted him out, when really they didn’t.
      Then when they were told that they shouldn’t use this important issue to get ahead in a game & that if they felt Dan wasn’t inappropriate, they shouldn’t be saying he was because that could ruin his reputation/marriage, they lied about it, denied everything, and threw Janet under the bus.

      In the end we learned that Elizabeth didn’t feel unsafe with him there (even though she told the others she did), but she did think he was creepy and joked about his touching. And we learned that Missy had been bothered by it more than Elizabeth and had cried about it with Kellee/Janet, but she had wanted to put it aside so she could use it as a way to get Kellee out.

      1. Also, regardless of Elizabeth and Missy’s stance on the issue, Kellee Kim was very stressed and upset by the touching. She asked him to stop several times but he didn’t. This was all on camera. She then discussed it with a producer in tears. There was also Molly Byman who was upset about it, although she was voted out early on, but it was documented some in the first episode. And Missy is on camera being bothered by it, even though she later denied that it was an issue.
        Elizabeth may not have been truly upset by it, but she did discuss it and joked about it.

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