Survivor’s Kellee Kim Agreed to Attend Reunion After Getting Permission to Speak Freely About Dan Spilo

Days before the Survivor: Island of the Idols reunion, Kellee Kim was not sure if she would be allowed to speak freely about her experience with fellow contestant Dan Spilo. However, CBS ultimately gave her permission, so agreed to attend the taping.

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The 29-year-old’s attorney, Debra Katz, told The New York Times on Wednesday, December 18, that her client “was concerned that she was not going to be able to speak at the finale. And if she was allowed to speak, that it would be too scripted and she would not be able to say the things that were important for her to say.” Kellee echoed that she wondered “whether I’d get a free, open venue to speak.”

In response to the MBA student’s concerns, a spokesperson for CBS told the newspaper, “There was never any doubt in our mind that she would be part of it and be able to speak freely about her experience.”

Survivor’s Kellee Kim Agreed to Attend Reunion After Dan Spilo Scandal
Kellee Kim and Dan Spilo on ‘Survivor: Island of Idols.’ Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment (2)

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In the end, longtime Survivor host Jeff Probst treated his conversation with Kellee with care and respect. He apologized at the reunion for the #MeToo scandal that plagued season 39 and turned out to be a teachable moment for the team behind the reality competition.

“What’s really most important is that Survivor and CBS took responsibility and apologized,” Kellee told the Times on Wednesday. “These changes that I’ve been asking for for many, many months have been put into place, so no one else is going to have to go through something like this.”

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During her one-on-one with Probst, 58, the California native teared up as she explained that she hopes her season “isn’t just defined by inappropriate touching or sexual harassment” but rather “by change.” She also commended the network for announcing changes to future seasons of Survivor, saying, “I hope that this has been a true learning lesson and things are different going forward, but only time will tell.”

Kellee made headlines in November when she, among other female contestants, accused Dan of inappropriate behavior on the show. Producers issued a formal warning to the 48-year-old, but he remained in the game. However, he was later removed from the show for what an onscreen title card described as “another incident” that occurred off-camera and did not involve another player. The talent agent has since publicly apologized to Kellee.

Tommy Sheehan won Survivor: Island of the Idols on Wednesday.

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