Television’s ‘Survivor’ dealing with #MeToo-era issues
The CBS game “Survivor” ends its 39th edition this week reeling from controversy over its first-ever forced removal of a contestant, a Hollywood agent sent packing after young women complained about inappropriate touching.
The abrupt exit of player Dan Spilo, for what CBS said was an off-camera incident, didn’t end questions about whether the network fumbled a #MeToo-era issue that it knew about months ago.
CBS has the chance to address its decisions Wednesday, when it airs the traditional one-hour post-mortem discussion after the season’s conclusion. Spilo has not been invited to participate. For the first time, that post-show discussion will be taped instead of live.
Acknowledging “things we could have done differently,” CBS late Tuesday announced steps to avoid similar problems in future seasons.
Spilo’s exit was announced at the end of last week’s episode. CBS would not give details, but People magazine reported that he touched the thigh of a woman during a boat ride. Spilo said he had lost balance, but the staff member felt the touch lingered too long, said Steve Helling, senior writer at People.
It proved to be a last straw.
Midway through the season, contestant Kellee Kim, a 28-year-old student, cried on camera as she discussed incidents — often caught on camera — where Spilo, 48, would do things like touch her hair. She and another contestant, 24-year-old Missy Byrd, talked about Spilo wrapping an arm around someone’s waist or touching the hip of a woman he was lying next to at night.
During the discussion, a producer broke in to tell Kim that she should come to him when something happens because “I don’t want anyone feeling uncomfortable.”
“It’s super upsetting because, it’s like, you can’t do anything about it,” she said onscreen. “There are always consequences for standing up. This happens in real life, in work settings, in schools. You can’t say anything because it’s going to reflect your upward trajectory. It’s going to affect how people look at you.”
Kim was voted out of the game by fellow contestants while Spilo remained.
CBS said it spoke to cast members after that discussion, both individually and as a group, about respecting personal space. Some contestants have subsequently said they felt it was a general, not specific warning, and players seemed genuinely surprised when host Jeff Probst informed them that Spilo was out…….read more
Source: AP News