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CBS & ‘Survivor’ Address Season 39 Controversy, Outline Measures To Prevent Inappropriate Behavior

by Iyzklez
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A week after the surprise removal of Survivor contestant Dan Spilo, CBS and the show’s producers are speaking out about the incident for the first time.

In a very lengthy statement, the network and the show call Season 39 “unprecedented.” The season featured the first ever contestant ejection in Survivor history. Spilo, a prominent Hollywood manager/producer, was removed from the game after an “off-camera incident,” believed to involve a physical contact with a member of the show’s production team as Spilo and other contestants were getting into a boat to transport them back to the camp after an immunity challenge.

Spilo had been accused earlier in the competition by fellow contestant Kelle Kim of unwanted touching, for which he apologized at that episode’s Tribal Council.

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“During the course of the production, we listened to the players intently, investigated responsibly and responded accordingly, including taking the unprecedented step of removing a player from the game,” CBS and Survivor said in their statement. “At the same time, we are responsible for the final outcome of this season. We recognize there are things we could have done differently, and we are determined to do better going forward.”

Starting with Season 40, Survivor is adding to the cast’s pre-production orientation specific guidelines regarding personal space, inappropriate behavior, and how to report these issues.

For Season 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.” (Survivor has not been officially renewed for the 2020-21 season, Cycles 41 and 42, but that is fully expected).

Additionally, “A new rule will be implemented stating unwelcome physical contact, sexual harassment and impermissible biases cannot be brought into the competition and will not be permitted as part of gameplay.”

There will be a new on-set executive brought in to facilitate the reporting and handling of any misconduct.

CBS and Survivor‘s statement comes the same day Spilo broke his silence with a statement to People further apologizing for his actions, “clearly and unambiguously.”

“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.”

The Season 39 finale of Survivor airs tomorrow night. As previously announced, because of the sensitivity of the situation, it will be pre-recorded and not live.

Here is the full CBS/Survivor statement:

Season 39 of “Survivor” has been unprecedented for all of us, with important social issues and inappropriate individual behavior intersecting with game play in complex ways that we’ve never seen before. During the course of the production, we listened to the players intently, investigated responsibly and responded accordingly, including taking the unprecedented step of removing a player from the game.

At the same time, we are responsible for the final outcome of this season. We recognize there are things we could have done differently, and we are determined to do better going forward.

“Survivor” has a 20-year track record of a strong support system on locations and after production. It is also a show that continues to evolve, as we respond to what we learn from every new situation and every player. We will take the important lessons we learned from this season and adopt new protocols and procedures for future seasons, to ensure that the events that occurred this season are not repeated.

For Season 40, which has already filmed, the show added to its pre-production cast orientation specific guidelines regarding personal space, inappropriate behavior, and how to report these issues.

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 show will also take additional steps to enhance procedures for training, reporting of issues and prohibited forms of game play. The new measures to further support a safe environment include but are not limited to the following:

The production will add another on-site professional to provide a confidential means of reporting any concerns, so that the production can address them promptly apart from the game. The full range of reporting processes will be communicated clearly to the players during pre-production orientation. The new executive will add to a support system that already makes mental health providers available to players on location and after they leave the island.

The show will enhance its pre-production orientation with new anti-harassment, unconscious bias and sensitivity training for cast, producers and production crew on location.

A new rule will be implemented stating unwelcome physical contact, sexual harassment and impermissible biases cannot be brought into the competition and will not be permitted as part of gameplay. This will be covered in the cast orientation for each season, along with clear instructions on how to report violations.

The show will also partner with a third-party expert in the field to review, evolve or add to these new policies and procedures going forward.

In addition, CBS Entertainment will develop appropriate enhanced policies and procedures equivalent to the new “Survivor” measures and adapt them for the network’s other reality programming going forward.



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