The merge episode of Survivor usually brings a fun dynamic and lots of interesting strategy, since for the first time all the remaining players are meeting up and now living together on the same beach for the remainder of the season. But what we saw last night didn’t match that tone at all. In fact, it wouldn’t be hyperbole to call it one of the darkest, ugliest episodes of the entire series.
When The Line Between Game and Reality is Blurred
What Went Down
Throughout the season, many of the female players have expressed discomfort at being touched in several uncomfortable ways by Dan Spilo. This came to a head last night when Kellee Kim spoke up about it yet again and bonded with some of the others about it (with production getting involved to remind everyone about personal space). However, she ended up being the one voted off at the end of the first hour of this double episode, and even though she was a genuine threat in terms of gameplay, her getting the boot right after she brought these incidents to light was very tough to swallow.
After that tribal council, a couple of the women – Elizabeth Beisel and Missy Byrd – used the situation to their advantage, playing down the harassment incidents and going back on their statement that it was an issue for them as a tool for the manipulation of Janet Carbin, who was legitimately concerned about the situation and was trying to help and protect the women who were uncomfortable. Later in the episode, Dan gave a controversial attempt at an apology.
All four players survived the second tribal council of the evening (Jamal Shipman was the eliminee) and we’ll have to wait until next week to see if and how this continues to play out. But it was certainly a tough two hours of television to watch, and the Survivor community hasn’t been afraid to talk about it since.
Straight From the Horse’s Mouth
The CBS’s network management came out with a statement about this earlier today:
“In the episode broadcast last night, several female castaways discussed the behavior of a male castaway that made them uncomfortable. During the filming of this episode, producers spoke off-camera to all the contestants still in the game, 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. On Survivor, producers provide the castaways a wide berth to play the game. At the same time, all castaways are monitored and supervised at all times. They have full access to producers and doctors, and the production will intervene in situations where warranted.”
Some of the contestants involved in the episode have also spoken up. Kellee Kim discussed why it was so difficult to stand up for herself on Twitter.
And Aaron Meredith, who was shown to have brushed off the concerns of the affected castaways during the episode, posted a video apology.
And Janet Carbin and Jamal Shipman thanked fans for their support.
We will update on the situation as more information comes in, but as of now we’re left saddened that those who stood up were punished, disgusted by how certain players used it to further their games (that wasn’t not only disrespectful to Kellee, but everyone who has experienced sexual harassment) and wondering how things will move forward from here considering the perpetrator and those who tried to sin his actions to their advantage still remain in the game, while multiple people who stood up and tried to stop it are either out or in a bad position game-wise.
The ladies of Survivor finally apologize after the show aired
Lauren Ashley Beck’s apology
Missy Byrd apologizes
Elizabeth Beisel too had a few remorseful words to say.
Do we forgive them for what they did to Kellee Kim? And what their lack of sensitivity did to women and the #metoo movement? Let us know in the comments down below what you think.