- Read Jared Anderson’s full episode recap, along with a complete synopsis of the unwanted touching accusations, here.
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.
— Elizabeth Beisel (@ebeisel34) November 15, 2019
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.
I am absolutely disgusted by the actions of Missy Byrd and Elizabeth Beisel on #Survivor. For them to concoct a plan to fabricate a story based on Kellee's legitimate allegations of Dan purely to sway votes their way at tribal council is downright vile. Shameful. Inexcusable.
— Natalia Buia (@itsbooyeah) November 14, 2019
And as someone who grew up in the same sport watching and idolizing THE Elizabeth Beisel, it’s like a gut punch watching your childhood Idol invalidate a fellow women’s experience and lie about such a serious issue. So in conslusion: #StanJanet #Survivor https://t.co/Fyfs8q2kmK
— Lily 🌸 (@mslilmmcc) November 14, 2019
My current feeling is that my 10+ years of being a fan of Elizabeth Beisel came to an end with one confessional
— erin, duchess of whales (@actuallyerin) November 14, 2019
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.