His departure was unprecedented. The Survivor: Island of the Idols finale aired on Wednesday, December 18, and some more casual fans may have been shocked to see that contestant Dan Spilo was not a part of it. Why not? Find out what you missed in the finale episode and why the controversial contestant wasn’t there.

What You Missed on the Survivor Season Finale

Of course, a winner was chosen! Tommy Sheehan was named the champion of Survivor: Island of the Idols. Janet Carbin was kicked off first during the finale, then Lauren Beck, and Dean Kowalski, Noura Salman and Tommy were left as the last ones standing, Deadline reported.

But there are also a reunion portion of the episode in which contestant Kellee Kim confronted host Jeff Probst about reports of inappropriate behavior by contestant Dan Spilo that she herself first called out. Jeff apologized to her and said, “You were right. You were right to step forward despite a lot of risk.”

Why Was Dan Ultimately Removed from Survivor?

Dan was removed from the reality show in an earlier episode. At the end of the December 11 episode, a title card on the screen read, “Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player.” That meant he was not in the running to be the Sole Survivor in the finale.

Hasn’t Dan Been in Trouble Before?

Yes. Kellee previously made it known she was uncomfortable with the way Dan touched her, and on day 22 of filming the series issued him a first warning.

“CBS and Survivor were on notice of Dan’s behavior from the very first days of the game,” Kellee tweeted on December 11. “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.”

CAST of Survivor Season 39Dan Spilo Removed From Survivor Island of the Idols Due to an Incident
Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment

What Exactly Happened Before Dan Was Ejected?

The details behind Dan’s second — and apparently final — transgression during filming are not totally clear. Host Jeff Probst told Entertainment Weekly of the incident on December 11, “I’ve endeavored to be as forthcoming as possible with you regarding everything that has happened this season. In this situation, out of respect for privacy and confidentiality, I can’t say anymore.”

He added, “It has been an unprecedented season. 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. We have learned a lot and it will inform our process moving forward.”

Has Anyone Been Kicked Off Survivor Before?

This is the first time in the show’s history that someone was ejected. Survivor has aired for 39 seasons and been on the air for almost two decades. Dan’s removal before the finale definitely raised some eyebrows, but we don’t yet know the particulars behind the decision — and we may never know the whole story.

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