Missy Byrd, Elizabeth Beisel & Lauren Beck Apologize Following 'Survivor' Inappropriate Touching Controversy
Missy Byrd and Elizabeth Beisel are sharing lengthy apologies for their roles in Wednesday night's controversial Survivor: Island of the Idols.
Wednesday's episode dealt heavily with Survivor castaway Dan Spilo making fellow castaway Kellee Kim uncomfortable due to her claims of "inappropriate touching."
After Kim approached Byrd, a fellow contestant, Byrd seconded Kim's complaints about Spilo's behavior. Byrd and fellow contestant Beisel then came up with a strategy to play up the angle of how uncomfortable Spilo made them feel in order to further their game agenda.
Word quickly spread among the merged tribe members as Bryd and Beisel seemingly used the information about Spilo to convince people -- specifically castaway Janet Carbin -- to vote him out by exaggerating or embellishing the truth about their interactions with him.
However, in a last-minute twist, Byrd and Beisel turned on Kim and managed to get her voted off the island instead of Spilo. Their actions lead to massive backlash, both on the island -- with Carbin becoming enraged that they'd manipulated the situation -- and online, where both women were accused of marginalizing Kim's experience and trivializing the severity of sexual misconduct allegations.
Both women took to Instagram on Thursday to apologize both to Kim and to Survivor fans.
"I would like to thank Kelle and Janet for being so courageous and leading by example," Bryd wrote. "I became so caught up in the game play that I didn't realize a very serious situation, nor did I handle it with the care that it deserved."
"This is a life changing learning moment for me," she added. "Sexual assault is never to be taken lightly and I'd like to apologize to any viewers that have been victimized. I do not take this issue lightly. I have done a lot of reflecting since the game and understand and accept the consequences of my lapse in judgement. Again, I am truly sorry."
Beisel also shared a mea culpa, apologizing specifically to Kim and Carbin and Spilo, and 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 in my behavior and will use this as a life-changing, teaching moment."
"I apologize to any woman who felt triggered by my actions," she added, in part. "I regret the way I acted and I am so incredibly sorry."
Fellow castaway Lauren-Ashley Beck -- who had spoken with Kim about being the target of Spilo's alleged behavior -- voted for Kim to leave the island as well, leaving Spilo in the game.
On Thursday, Beck also took to Twitter to apologize for the way she handled the situation.
"I want to deeply apologize to all women and more specifically Kellee and Janet," Beck wrote, referring to Janet Carbin, who'd voted to eliminate Spilo after hearing the allegations against him, and was later disgusted with the women who'd turned on Kim and supposedly manipulated the vote.
"While I had my own experiences and feelings towards Dan, I spoke with him and it stopped. While ignorance is not an excuse, after the merge I did not know the full extent of Kellee’s feelings regarding Dan. In no way did I use her feelings towards him to further my game," Beck added in a series of tweets.
"I am a firm believer of women supporting women and had I have known, I would have acted differently, been more supportive of Kellee & would have conducted myself in a way that better represents who I am," she continued. "All women should be as brave as Kellee and stand up for themselves when put in similar situations. I am sorry I didn’t voice this opinion on last night’s episode."
In a joint statement to ET on Thursday, CBS and MGM said all contestants are monitored at all times.
"In the episode broadcast last night, several female castaways discussed the behavior of a male castaway that made them uncomfortable," the statement reads. "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."
Not surprisingly, Survivor fans had plenty of strong reactions on social media, many slamming Byrd and Beisel. On Wednesday, Kim tweeted that she was "hurting."
"Hi everyone, I'm hurting and very sad watching this last episode too, but please try to be kind and understanding," she wrote. "No one deserves threats or shaming, and we can talk about this in a way that we are all better for it?? #Survivor #Mentalhealth."
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