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One week after its #MeToo moment, ‘Survivor’ seems eager to move on

Castaways compete in a challenge on “Survivor: Island of the Idols.”
Castaways compete in a challenge on “Survivor: Island of the Idols.”
(CBS)

Last week’s “Survivor” made headlines when multiple women accused fellow castaway Dan Spilo of inappropriate touching, corroborated by footage displaying the actions they described. The subsequent chain of events, which saw Spilo remain in the game and his most vocal accuser, Kelle Kim, voted out, prompted public statements from CBS and host Jeff Probst, as well as apologies from multiple contestants for how they handled the #MeToo situation.

The episode also stood out for breaking the fourth wall: A producer could be heard offering to intervene after Kim gave a tearful confessional reflecting on her experiences with Spilo. She first voiced concerns about the Hollywood talent manager’s behavior in the season premiere.

Wednesday’s episode of “Survivor” sparked controversy when multiple female contestants accused a male player of inappropriate touching.

But viewers expecting the fallout from the controversy to be addressed at some point during the latest installment came away disappointed. The furor was not recapped, and there was no direct mention of the incident.

The only discussion of what happened occurred during a brief exchange betwen Spilo and Janet Carbin, an older female player who was a friend of Spilo but who had positioned herself as a protector of the women who had complained about him. The two agreed to have “closure,” with Spilo adding that he wanted Carbin to let him know if any other women complained about his behavior.

A day after a “Survivor” episode marked by allegations of unwanted touching against a contestant, longtime host Jeff Probst elaborated on his views on how the situation was handled.
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However, another twist occurred during one of two tribal councils held during the episode. Missy Byrd, an African American who had complained about Spilo but also played a key role in voting out Kim, called out host Jeff Probst for not mentioning last week that two African Americans had won immunity at the same time. “I love you,” she said before mildly scolding Probst, adding that “representation matters.” Probst acknowledged her concerns.

Survivor Twitter was not having it, mostly saying that Byrd was off-base with her criticism. At the end of the episode, a stunned Byrd was voted out.

“Survivor: Island of the Idols” returns on Nov. 27.


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