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"One night, the hands were wandering." The sexual harassment controversy unfolding on US Survivor.

A #MeToo controversy has ensued on the current season of US Survivor: Island of the Idols, after five women accused their fellow contestant, Dan Spilo, of “inappropriate touching”.

The episode aired in Australia on Thursday, on 9GO!, with contestants Kellee Kim and Missy Byrd discussing their respective non-consensual experiences with the 49-year-old Hollywood talent agent.

“When I first got here, Dan was super kind and super helpful. But then one night, the hands were wandering,” Missy said after two tribes merged, giving contestants who previously hadn’t had the chance to communicate to express their mutual concerns.

“Was he doing that with Elizabeth, too?” Kellee asked.

“With everybody,” Missy was adamant.

“It’s super upsetting, because you can’t do anything about it,” Kellee said in a piece-to-camera. “There are always consequences for standing up. This happens in work settings, in schools… This isn’t just one person. It’s a pattern.”

us survivor 2019
Five women accused their fellow contestant, Dan Spilo, of "inappropriate touching". Image: CBS.

Spilo was accused of touching Kellee's hair after she requested he stop, and putting his arm on Missy as she slept, amongst other incidents of unwanted touching.

"It takes five people to be like, man, the way I’m feeling about this is actually real," Kellee continued in the interview. "It’s not in my head. I’m not overreacting to it. He’s literally done these things to five different women in this game. That sucks. That totally, totally sucks."

In a rare move, a producer from the show intervened during the interview, telling Kellee: "You know, if there are issues to the point where things need to happen, come to me and I will make sure that stops.

"I don’t want anyone feeling uncomfortable… I just want to make sure. This is not like – it’s not OK."


The network also explained to viewers that off-camera, producers spoke with the contestants "both as a group and individually", to hear any concerns and advise about appropriate boundaries.

"A formal warning was also given to the male castaway in question," they added.

us survivor 2019
"There are always consequences for standing up. This happens in work settings, in schools… This isn't just one person. It's a pattern," Kellee Kim said. Image: CBS.

Another one of the contestants, Jamal, found out about the misconduct allegations and subsequently spearheaded a campaign to eliminate Dan at tribal council in order to demonstrate her solidarity with the accusers.

Nevertheless, the other contenders didn't share the same motive.

In fact, Jamal was voted out. As was Kellee, one of Dan's most vocal accusers, who was even voted out by Missy – the woman she initially expressed her concerns to.

As for Dan himself, he remained in the game.

The events sparked outrage from viewers, who criticised the show's dealing with the accusations and condemned the other contenders for not showing more solidarity for the women who spoke up.

"I became so caught up in game play that I did not realise a very serious situation, nor did I handle it with the care that it deserved," Missy said after the show went to air. "To all women; I genuinely apologise for my actions."

Another contestant, Elizabeth Beisel, has said: "To Kellee. I was sick to my stomach watching the episode and seeing how much pain you were in.

"I wholeheartedly apologise to you for using your accusations against Dan for gameplay."

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