“I am deeply sorry for how my actions affected Kellee during the taping of this season of Survivor,” Spilo told People magazine on Wednesday, December 17, referencing the way he made contestant Kellee Kim uncomfortable. “After apologizing at the tribal council when I first learned that Kellee still felt uncomfortable, I want to make sure I do so again, clearly and unambiguously. I truly regret that anyone was made to feel uncomfortable by my behavior.”
He went on to explain that he hopes this experience will help him down the road. “In my life, I have always tried to treat others with decency, integrity and kindness,” he said. “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.”
During the December 11 episode of Survivor, host Jeff Probst arrived at camp the morning after a tribal council and told the remaining castaways that Spilo had been removed and would not be part of jury. He did not give them any context. Then, the following title card was displayed on screen: “Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player.”
This was not the first incident involving Spilo during the season as Kim, 29, told Spilo in the first episode that she was uncomfortable with how touchy he was. Production later stepped in, on day 22, and CBS gave him a warning about his behavior. However, it wasn’t until day 36 that he was removed from the competition.
For the first time in the nearly 20-year show, the series’ finale reunion show will be pretaped instead of airing live, in order to avoid the controversial topics.
The Survivor finale airs on CBS Wednesday, December 18, at 8 p.m. ET.