Probst announced to the remaining players on Wednesday's episode that Spilo, a Hollywood talent manager, would not be returning to the game, but didn't give specifics as to why. But after the show ended, a title card read: "Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player."
CBS has declined to comment beyond the statement on the show.
Spilo had already been the center of controversy this season. During a previous episode, now-eliminated contestant Kellee Kim had raised concerns that Spilo was being too touchy and had claimed that he invaded her personal space, and said that she asked him multiple times to stop. In a rare moment for the CBS show, producers broke the fourth wall and told Kim that Spilo was given an official warning. Two other female contestants, Missy Byrd and Elizabeth Beisel, also said they felt uncomfortable with Spilo's behavior but later admitted they exaggerated their own allegations as a strategy to win. Nevertheless, Spilo did apologize at the Tribal Council for his behavior, noting that he was "horrified" if anybody ever felt "uncomfortable" with his actions though that wasn't his intention.
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Probst talks about Spilo's initial reaction when he told him he was removing him from the game after yet another incident.
"When we first told Dan we were pulling him from the game, he was not happy," the Survivor host shares. "We talked through everything for quite a while, and by the time he got on the boat to leave he had calmed down and was actually very respectful as he departed."
Spilo's removal from Survivor marks the first time a player has been ejected for their behavior in 39 seasons of the long-running show.
"It has been an unprecedented season," Probst comments. "Complex social issues were woven into the game in a way we have never seen before. With our contestants' welfare at the forefront, we have spent a lot of time discussing every layer of the situation with human resources, diversity and inclusion representatives, show therapists, lawyers, publicists, and standards and practices."
"We all worked diligently throughout the entire process to make the right decisions and portray an accurate depiction of what took place," he continues. "We have learned a lot and it will inform our process moving forward. ... While we still want to maintain the competitive aspect of the game, above all, we want to ensure that all players always feel safe and respected. These conversations both internally and with outside organizations will continue."
EW also reports that following all the controversy this season, the upcoming reunion show will not air live. Instead, it will be pre-taped and sources tell the outlet that the decision was made due to the sensitive nature of this season and because of security concerns for the contestants.
Meanwhile, according to People, multiple sources involved with the show’s production said the incident in question that resulted in Spilo being removed from the game allegedly involved a member of the show’s production team during a boat ride back to the camp and involved Spilo allegedly touching the female crew member’s leg. Sources also told the outlet that Spilo claimed the contact was accidental, and that he'd lost his balance while getting into the boat.
ET has reached out to Spilo for comment.
On Wednesday, Kim shared a statement on Twitter in response to the episode.
"While Dan's dismissal has validated the concerns that I raised from the beginning of this season, I wish that no one else had to be subjected to this type of behavior," she wrote. "CBS and Survivor were on notice of Dan’s behavior from the very first days of the game. And, as Survivor fans know, shortly after I spoke up on camera, I was voted off the show. Since then, I've accepted genuine, heartfelt apologies from fellow castaways, but I've continued to feel disappointed by how this pattern of behavior was allowed to occur for so long."
"While I wish many things had gone differently, I'm glad that my decision to speak up made a difference," she continued. "What is most important to me now is how all of us -- CBS, Survivor, other organizations, and all of us as individuals -- decide to learn from this story and commit to take action."