3-Time US Olympian Elizabeth Beisel Releases Statement on Survivor Incident

3-time U.S. Olympian Elizabeth Beisel has released a statement after being at the center of a controversy on last night’s episode of the CBS reality television show Survivor.

The episode, which involved a “tribe merge” in the show’s format, is one that is usually a big episode for fans of the long-running show. Last night’s episode, however, has received extra attention after one contestant on the show, Dan Spilo, was accused of being too “handsy” with his fellow contestants, especially by Kellee Kim.

After initially saying that she didn’t feel uncomfortable with the behavior, Beisel later said that if she “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,'” Beisel said.

Beisel and another contestant, Missy Byrd, both told Kim that they had similar experiences. Later, in the vote for which contestant would be eliminated, both Beisel and Byrde voted for Kim to be voted off the island instead of the accused Spilo.

Beisel Tweeted a statement on Thursday evening, and sent SwimSwam an extended statement as well. Beisel’s Statement:

To my family of Survivor viewers, past players, family and friends.

If you are reading this, I’m assuming you have watched the most recent episode of Survivor and are looking for answers. After watching the episode, my eyes were opened to a completely different truth, and I received an abundance of information that I was entirely unaware of while playing the game. I had no idea the severity of the situation. As a player, I am limited to my own experiences and knowing what I know now, my decisions would have been very different. 

To Kellee. I was sick to my stomach watching the episode and seeing how much pain you were in. I wholeheartedly apologize to you for using your accusations against Dan for gameplay. In no world is that acceptable, and I take full responsibility for my actions, and lack thereof. 

To Janet. I deeply regret ever taking advantage of you in the game this way. Watching the episode, it was clear your sole intention was to protect us women, and I am distraught by the way I handled this situation. I am extremely sorry.  

To women everywhere. Sexual harassment and sexual assault are extremely serious, life altering topics that I do not take lightly. They have no business being used as tactics to further one’s own agenda, whether it be in real life or in the game of Survivor. I am beyond disappointed with my behavior and will use this as a life changing, teaching moment. I apologize to any woman who felt triggered and disrespected by my actions. I regret the way I acted, and I am so incredibly sorry. 

To Dan and men everywhere. Your reputation is never meant to be someone else’s stepping stone. It is not a topic to joke about or to be used as a tactical ploy, and for that, I apologize. 

After watching the episode, I am deeply ashamed with my actions and I apologize – they do not reflect my character and who I am in my day to day life. My heart goes out to all involved. Survivor has been a life changing experience and I have learned so much. I hope this moment does not define me, but instead will help inform who I am as a person going forward.

Kim was eliminated, while Spilo was given the opportunity to apologize during the Tribal Council. In Survivor, contestants complete challenges for immunity and rewards, and at the end of each episode (usually), contestants vote one of their fellow contestants off the show. The Tribal Council is the name of the scene where that vote happens.

“I work in an industry in which the #MeToo movement was formed and allowed — thank God — to blossom and become powerful and strong,” Spilo said. He is a Hollywood talent agent. “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.”

Beisel and others from the show have come under criticism on social media over her comments which seemed to be taking advantage of the situation for personal gain. Several people Tweeted that they were no longer fans of Beisel, who for most of her career has been among the favorites with American swimming fans.

Update:

Another contestant on the show, Aaron Meredith, posted an apology video for his role in the episode, which included him defending Beisel and Byrd and defended their actions as “Gameplay.” He also discredited the accusations, saying that if something were going on, he and the other men would know about it.

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Sccoach

See this is why we need to wait to get all sides of the story. It’s a 40+ minute show that is cut from 3 days of footage and we just don’t see the whole story on the show. I’m not 100% defending her but I do wish everyone would just wait to hear everyone’s story before making their final judgments.

socialpsychologist

What about this statement made you feel better about what happened last night?

Sccoach

1. She gave a sincere apology 2. She made it apparent that there were things we were seeing that she wasn’t. When you hear contestants from reality shows discuss their experiences it is often a completely different experience from what we see on tv. She is watching the game through a different lens than we are at home and she doesn’t get to see most of the things that we see.

Clearly she still made some mistakes but I think in her message it seems obvious that there was a lot going on that she didn’t see or understand

wowok

if you’re not going to believe anyone can learn or change from mistakes then don’t even bother reading the statement next time. that’s what I don’t get. everyone begs for an apology and says they should be ashamed and then when they say they are everyone calls them a liar. give someone a chance to correct their mistakes and learn something

SwimMom

Are we giving the same forgiveness to those who accidentally take a banned substance and then are really sorry?

Sccoach

She didn’t cheat or do anything illegal. Bad comparison?

I‘m not even saying anyone needs to forgive her. The hope is for everyone to get all sides of the story before judging, especially when considering the source being a reality show.

wowok

yes I personally would. you don’t have to, and that’s perfectly fine. with cheating, it doesn’t mean they should be in the sport again. doesn’t mean she should stay in survivor. But as someone who has experienced both false accusations and sexual misconduct to me, I’m willing to think people can change.

wowok

Yes. we are, at least I am anyway. Doesn’t mean you have to. Does it mean they should compete again? no. does it mean she should stay on survivor? no. but I’m willing to hear people out and forgive and see them change until they prove me otherwise

sscommentor

totally agree, its a tv show. they’ve been planning this moment from the first episode + sprinkled bits and pieces in the rest. the success of the show lies heavily on their ability to provide ‘villain-edits’, ‘hero-edits’ etc.

Swimswim322

2019 has been an amazing year of drama

Old Man Chalmers

and we still have sun yang’s trial to come

Taa

I win you a loser

My Brother Was A Swimmah

Y’ know, this is ABSOLUTELY foreign, plus disgusting, to me. As a former swimmer (along w/ my brother), the concept of this social-media-phenomenon B.S. — “Survivor” — and the attention THIS brings to swimming; well, this whole deal is crap! What’s happened to: our country; our ethics; our morals; AND our sport? Pre-programmed fabricated manure! Ugh!

SuperSwimmer 2000

So Beisel’s at fault, but the producers who get to see everything, know everything and still let the show go on (and let the guy stay on the show) bear no responsibility?

MICHAEL

Well to be perfectly fair to the producers, they actually showed some interaction between them and the people playing the game when this all came to ahead. While the contestant who felt most uncomfortable, Kellee Kim, was giving a confessional about the situation, they told her that what was happening and the way that Dan Spilo was making her feel was absolutely not OK and that they could take action if she so wished. Kellee then followed by saying it was not necessary, but the next moments in the episode went to a black screen with writing that came across stating that they did, in fact, stop the show and had a meeting with all of the contestant to truly… Read more »

Corn Pop

My friend Joe was also accused of being not only feely but mauling women & girls on stage . Of course it was not true . And that very bad person Jeff Sessions even hit Joe’s hand as it leered forward to his grand daughters . Most distespectful .

We too had a big meeting with our best friends , the media . We agreed it was a mis understanding & have edited the offending scenes.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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