What Really Happened When Dan Spilo Got Ejected from ‘Survivor’

The Survivor: Island of the Idols cast

CBS The Survivor: Island of the Idols cast

In a recent Reddit AMA (ask me anything), Survivor: Island of the Idols castaway Jamal Shipman was asked quite a few questions about the Dan Spilo incident.

In case you don’t remember, Spilo was ejected from the game after inappropriately touching a producer. But there had previously been several incidents where he was making unwanted physical contact with some of the female castaways, most notably Kellee Kim, and production did nothing to stop it. There were also a lot of questions about who was really bothered by it and who was acting like they were in order to get in good with Janet Carbin.

Shipman answered all of the questions, so here is what he had to say about the whole Spilo incident.

Shipman Says They Were Very Surprised To Find Out Spilo Was Ejected

When asked when the jury found out about it, Shipman revealed that they were not told at the Ponderosa, the living quarters that house the jury while the show is still filming. They found out on the spot at the final five Tribal Council.

“We were surprised. We were scheduled to go to Tribal Council and midday, they told us that tribal was cancelled. So of course we were like, there must have been a medical evacuation or something. We found out at the final 5 tribal council,” said Shipman, adding that they were also surprised by how the editors and producers chose to tell the story.

What he meant was that production didn’t really show who knew what and when they knew it when production they edited the show together.

“I was aware [of what was going on with Dan] because Molly and Kellee told me early on about how they were feeling. I imagine they told me because they felt like if someone else knew — especially a guy — then they could feel more comfortable knowing that I could intervene if it ever escalated,” said Shipman, adding, “Everyone wasn’t privy to how the women were feeling about Dan AND when asked directly, some of the women, in the interest of preserving their place in the game of Survivor, weren’t willing to be completely honest about their feelings or experiences.”

He Said the Show Was ‘Extremely Unfair’ to Some of the Players

The show created a narrative where Spilo’s inappropriate touching was used by Missy Byrd and Elizabeth Beisel to get in better with Janet Carbin. But Shipman said that was an “extremely unfair” way to characterize what happened.

“I think the show was extremely unfair to Missy, Elizabeth, and Aaron. I know it’s probably not a popular thing to say here, but if you’ve read or listened to anything I’ve said about that whole incident, you know that I’m sympathetic to the fact none of them knew the full extent of all that was happening around the Dan situation and they got caught up in playing this game that makes you do things you wouldn’t do in your normal life and they shouldn’t have been as vilified for that as they were. I wish the show did a better job of showing what they knew and what motivated their decisions,” said Shipman.

He said the takeaway from their season is that “players should not be responsible for making the call about whether or not inappropriate things are happening.”

“Production has a responsibility to not allow those kinds of things to become part of the game. None of us went out there wanting to have that experience, and I’m glad that our season has inspired [Endemol Shine Group] and CBS to take that more seriously.”

Survivor hopes to film seasons 41 and 42 in the spring of 2021.

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